49ers look to avoid letdown against lowly Falcons

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) runs against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

SANTA CLARA — Trap game?

Technically, yes.

The Atlanta Falcons are the worst team the 49ers will face the rest of the season. The 49ers just finished the most difficult three-game stretch in NFL history. The postseason is three weeks away. Plus, they have lots of injuries and still must face two division opponents, the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks.

Hard to focus on the four-win Falcons.

But during the Falcons’ bye week, which was Week 9, they shook up their coaching staff and made wide receivers coach Raheem Morris their new defensive backs coach. Since then, the Falcons have played well.

“These guys have won three out of their last five games,” said 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. “They beat a very good team in New Orleans. It wasn’t a close game. They beat them with ease. Beat Carolina last week by a lot. You turn on the tape and you can see why. Everyone knows the names they have over there. The team is playing at a very high level right now.”

Shanahan sees the trap.

Despite all of the 49ers’ injuries and the natural tendency to let down against a weaker opponent, they still should smoke the Falcons. Here’s why:

This article has 19 Comments

  1. Another very nice piece of analysis, Grant! Ryan is a statue, without a very good rushing attack behind him, and he’s missing his reliable #2 wideout ….. all of which likely spells trouble for the Falcons on Sunday.

  2. After splitting hard-fought road games against two premier teams, and being closer to securing home field advantage through the playoffs, I’m thinking the 9ers will be very focused and motivated today.

    And, hoping the Rams and Seahawks lose…

  3. The Niners have huge motivation to win this game. A win will guarantee a playoff spot. The Niners want this game more than the Falcons, who just want to play spoiler.
    I agree with many of the points Grant made, but think it will be closer than he thinks. The 1-7 Falcons beat the 7-1 Saints, and the Falcons played the Saints tough, 26-18, despite Ryan getting sacked 9 times.

    1. The falcons beat in division rival following coaching changes, making it difficult for the saints to scout what the defense would do.

      If they played a week later the saints would have owned them.

      Their oline is trash, and ryan is not a quick strike QB (nor will Saleh play off with his DBs if he were, I think he learned from the saints game), so the pass rush will get home a lot more. They have no run game (30th overall) and will be forced to pass. Their defense is bottom third as well.

      This game will be one sided. Expect it to mirror Carolina or green bay.

        1. You mean a carolina team who had just fired its coach and hasnt been any good since the niners embarrassed them?

          Wow what a valuable win.

          The falcons also gave up 35 to Tampa.

          They are a trash team who will show they are trash today.

    2. Sebbie
      The Cards 3 wins played the Niners close in a divisional match up. I’m more worried about the Rams next week.

  4. I’d hate to be the Falcons offense because they’ll be going up against a defense that was eviscerated for 46 points. They’ll want redemption, and I fully expect them to get it. Niners big today!

  5. Falcons have played two games on grass outside this year.
    They scored 33 total points outside.
    It’s a dome team, they’re coming west, they have one weapon, no running game, and will probably try to mimic the saints from last week with a QB who isn’t the other QB from last week.
    I don’t see how their defense stops our offense.
    Shanahan knows this QB
    I’m sure Salah does now too.

    I’ll stick to my guns. Niners score in the 40’s and ATL will be lucky to scratch the low 20’s.

    On another note. I’ll be watching the rams and cowboys game closely today.
    Yes the rams stomped the hawks, but they always seem to have their number and match up well with them.
    If they do the same to Dallas, then I’ll start stressing about next week.
    Always seems that a team gets hot late in the year and rolls and sometimes all the way to the big game.
    I’m more worried about the Rams game right now than the Seahawks game in two weeks.
    Could use another saints and packers loss on top of a Seattle loss too.
    I like to be comfortable. ?

  6. It will be interesting to see how the Nose Tackles do trying to replace Jones. Sheldon Day is due to have a strong game.

    1. Allie, I hope Kentavius Street can do the same thing, when he replaces Day, to keep him fresh.
      GO NINERS!!!!!! PLAYOFFS!!!!!!

  7. I believe the game today is indeed a trap game. It’s a trap for the Atlanta bettors. They’re looking at that 10 1/2 (or 11 if they bet early) and being lulled into thinking this will be a close one and that spread is a winner. They probably conclude the Niners are banged up on defense, especially in the backfield, and Atlanta ranks 3rd in the league in passing yards, so it’s not a stretch to figure they can generate some yardage and points. They are ranked 14th in the league in scoring, which isn’t bad. However, despite the Niners defensive backfield injuries, the defense will quickly take away the Falcons lousy run game (30th), pin their ears back, and dominate. It’s going to be a sackathon. The Forty Niner offense will too much for the Falcons. They are going to continue where they left off last week. I see this game similar to the Green Bay game, though I think the Falcons will score a few more points because of the injuries to the Niners. If the Niners were healthy defensively, it would be a rout along the lines of 45-10 or there about. For you wagerers, don’t be lulled. Take the Niners to cover the 10 1/2 and the over (48 1/2). Place your bets!! Fill those coffers!

    SF 41 ATL 24

    Enjoy the game folks!!

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