Here it is. Championship Sunday.
After a thrilling win last week the Falcons hope to continue their Super Bowl hopes. Matt Ryan finally got over the playoff hump by getting his first win in four tries. They finally “got the monkey off their backs”. This should help going against the 49ers this week. Yes, they almost had one of the worst let downs in the Seahawks game but it’s all about the way you finish. That last drive with only 25 seconds on the clock proved this is a different Falcons’ team. In past years the offense wouldn’t be able to do what they did Sunday. Now that that’s finished the Falcons can play a lot looser. They won’t have to hear “can they” anymore because they’ve done it. Now they have to do it against a similar team to the team they just beat. The 49ers have a strong defense and a good offense, much like the Seahawks. Colin Kaepernick set a record for most rushing yards by a QB in any game in NFL history. He had 181 yards against the Green Bay Packers and the Falcons will have to find a way to to slow him down or it may be a long day for them. It will be essential that the Falcons play that read option perfectly. Its dangerous and has given them problems when they’ve faced it against division foe, Cam Newton. Cam and Colin Kaepernick are similar players. That’s one way you can look at it or you can look on the flip side, the Falcons have faced this before so they should be well prepared. They know the looks they’ll see and what needs to be done. They just have to execute. They did a good job against the Seahawks, for the most part, holding Marshawn Lynch (the leagues 3rd leading rusher) to 46 yards rushing. That may have been due to a hurt foot but at this point of the season when everyone has some injury problems that is big for a team that struggled against the run. Frank Gore will get that same attention. If the Falcons can have any success stopping the run and running the ball this will not be the game everyone expects. Just like against the Seahawks, no one is giving the Falcons a chance. If there is one weakness in the 49ers game its their secondary. The Falcons have a dynamic passing game that can expose that weakness. This will be a great game that I have to go with my heart on. I picked the Falcons to go to the Super Bowl back in September. Since they are still in it I’m going with them, 28-20.