Can Atlanta take down the 49ers and lay claim to their first Super Bowl birth in well over a decade? They could, but this fan is not going to gloat… I’m worried, I’m nervous that this game will be burnt in the minds of Falcons fans for years to come, and I do not know why.
Colin Kaepernick is the major reason I find myself struggling to find ways Atlanta can pull this out. After coming off of allowing Russellmania run wild on us in the Georgia Dome, it is only practical to be concerned. This Atlanta defense is the worst statistical defense versus a rushing quarterback in the NFL. They allow over seven yards per scramble. If Atlanta wants to play on Super Bowl Sunday they will have to find it within themselves to stop Kaepernick.
Friends asked me this week, “ Mike how does Atlanta stop this guy?” My personal opinion lies how our defense plays the read option. The defense must light up Kaepernick on every read play, whether he hands the ball off or not. It is perfectly legal on a read option to hit the quarterback. The Packers failed to understand this rule, and looked lost on defense all game. I believe 100% that if Atlanta can out scheme the option read, the 49ers offense will be in serious trouble on the road.
The good news, Atlanta knows how to play the option read. The concern everyone I have talked with this week was whether or not we can get pressure on passing downs. I am sorry to say that without someone stepping up, we must have John Abraham or we will be forced to blitz on 60 to 70% of passing downs. Last week, we got zero pressure after Abe left. ZERO! I don’t expect him to be able to play all game so somebody must rise up to the occasion. The 49ers have guys like LaMichael James and Vernon Davis, underused but expect them to be factors Sunday.
The Falcons offense needs to attack the seams. The 49ers front seven is very stout, but their safeties at times are known to make grievous errors. The Falcons need to continue rushing the ball like last week. They need to give it everything they have, and I believe they will. Matt Ryan proved last week that he is not too small for the moment. He shut up his doubters and won over a lot of fans. I trust Matt Ryan and his ability to play in this game. He is the better quarterback, and in the playoffs I like the better QB 99% of the time.
This is a huge game, when tickets came on sale Monday, I couldn’t hold myself back. A part of me knows this is a game I must attend. I think, like last week this game will be close. I think it becomes close due to Kaepernick errors. The Dome will be rocking at 3 pm, and I implore everyone, even the fans like myself that are greatly concerned about the matchups to be there. Waving their flags, chanting RISE UP, believing that on this day… Sunday the twentieth , the Atlanta Falcons could go to the Super Bowl. You can still find tickets on external sites. There really is no excuse to miss out on Atlanta sports history, win or lose this has been a hell of a ride, and I am not ready to pack my bags just yet… Atlanta 27 49ers 24.