Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Prediction: SF 31, ATL 27 (Line: SF by 4.5)

This is the NFC Championship that most envisioned two months ago. The Falcons are 8-1 at home so far and the 49ers are only 5-3 on the road but last week showed the 49ers coming to life like never before and no one questions the move to Colin Kaepernick anymore. The Falcons are the #1 seed but enjoyed a cakewalk for a schedule this year and even then barely clipped the Seahawks last week. Coming into this game, the 49ers are road favorites - a rather rare thing in a Championship game - but this is the #1 vs. the #2 seeds which is also fairly unusual in recent years. The 49ers clearly have the better defense and as of last week, they have an equally potent offense.

San Francisco 49ers
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 30-22 10 STL 24-24
2 DET 27-19 11 CHI 32-7
3 @MIN 13-24 12 @NO 31-21
4 @NYJ 34-0 13 @STL 13-16
5 BUF 45-3 14 MIA 27-13
6 NYG 3-26 15 @NE 41-34
7 SEA 13-6 16 @SEA 13-42
8 @ARI 24-3 17 ARI 27-13
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
QB Colin Kaepernick 70,1 - 260,2
RB Frank Gore 70,1 3-20 -
TE Vernon Davis - 1-40 -
TE Delanie Walker - 4-50,1 -
WR A.J. Jenkins - 1-10 -
WR Randy Moss - 2-30 -
WR Michael Crabtree - 6-100,1 -
PK David Akers 4 XP 1 FG -

Pregame Notes: The 49ers signed Billy Cundiff but still used David Akers last week. The game could not have gone better for the 49ers and their use of the "pistol" formation with an emphasis on Colin Kaepernick running was deadly effective. By the end of the game, Kaepernick had buried the NFL record for rushing yards in a game by a quarterback with 181 yards and two scores on 16 runs in addition to the 263 yards and two scores as a passer. Kaepernick could not have hoped for a better performance and he presented a problem to the Packers that was never solved. His rushing helped open up everything else for the offense.

This opens up a new problem for Atlanta who had trouble with Cam Newton (9-86, TD) and Russell Wilson (7-60, TD) when they became runners in Atlanta. Both quarterbacks threw for two scores as well.

Frank Gore ran for 119 yards and a score on 23 carries on the Packers and added 48 yards on two catches for what was his best fantasy showing of the entire year. Last week the Falcons set out to stop Marshawn Lynch and succeeded when they held him to only 46 yards on 16 carries but they nearly lost the game to Wilson's passing and running.

The rookie A.J. Jenkins has played in two games replacing Mario Manningham and yet still has no catches and only one target so far. Randy Moss is on autopilot with around two catches for 30 yards in pretty much every game this year. Michael Crabtree remains the lone weapon as a receiver and scored twice in each of the last two games - both at home though. The only time that Crabtree scored away from home was in New England (7-107, 2 TD) and Arizona (5-72, 2 TD). Otherwise he has been much less productive on the road.

Vernon Davis has only managed single catch games for the last five weeks and remains a non-factor other than drawing double coverage on most plays so that Crabtree can have it easier getting open. The Falcons have been very good against the pass this year and more so when at home. But last week with Russell running around, he was able to pass for a season best 385 yards and two scores there. Extending plays by running around is also when Kaepernick is having more success connecting with Crabtree.

The 49ers are showing up with an offense and defense somewhat similar to what the Seahawks had last week. That's going to give more opportunities to Kaepernick, Gore and Crabtree.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 11 14 21 7 10 15
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 11 24 8 21 12 3


Atlanta Falcons
Homefield: Georgia Dome
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC 40-24 10 @NO 27-31
2 DEN 27-21 11 ARI 23-19
3 @SD 27-3 12 @TB 24-23
4 CAR 30-28 13 NO 23-13
5 @WAS 24-17 14 @CAR 20-30
6 OAK 23-20 15 NYG 34-0
7 BYE ----- 16 @DET 31-18
8 @PHI 30-17 17 TB 17-22
9 DAL 19-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATLANTA Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan - - 270,3
RB Michael Turner 50 - -
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 20 3-30 -
TE Tony Gonzalez - 5-50,1 -
WR Julio Jones - 4-70 -
WR Roddy White - 7-90,1 -
WR Harry Douglas - 1-20 -
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Falcons already are a success - they managed to win a playoff game even if it required a field goal with eight seconds left to play in a game where they surrendered 21 points in the fourth quarter. The Falcons jumped out to a 20-0 lead at halftime against the Seahawks who squandered a couple of scoring opportunities in the first half and then fell just short of a comeback when the Falcons were able to connect on the field goal.

Matt Ryan passed for 250 yards and three scores on the Seahawks but also had two interceptions. Michael Turner (14-98) ran for his best yardage since week nine but failed to score and as always had no catches. Jacquizz Rodgers gained 64 yards on ten carries and look sharp slashing through the Seahawks defense. It was his first time over 30 yards for over a month.

The 49ers rank highly against the running backs all season and were only dinged by Marshawn Lynch. Turner has scored in 11 games this year but the 49ers have only two runners to score on them in road games and Turner's 98 yards last week was about double what he typically has been gaining.

As has been the pattern all year, Julio Jones was less effective when at home and only managed 59 yards on six catches last week. Roddy White has been the best player when at home and ended with a score on his 76 yards on five catches last year. Jones is always going to be good for 50+ yards but his best games were always away from home. White has been the possession receiver with ten targets in almost every game.

Tony Gonzalez is playing out his final season and is just one game away from the promised land of the Super Bowl. He's been locked around 50 yards per game for the last two months but did score once last week on the Seahawks. He's likely to be a factor in this game as well with the 49ers weaker against his position than the others. They gave up six scores to tight ends in road games this year already.

The 49ers have been great against wide receivers and allowed only three players to top 100 yards on them all year. Notable too is that in road games, only three wide receivers managed to score on them all year. Gonzalez should see a score here but any thing more than one touchdown to a wide out would be a surprise - at least it would be a rare occurrence. But the 49ers have been tough to run on and that will force Ryan to pass more.

Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 6 17 6 5 3 22
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 6 2 5 14 1 9


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