With NFL analysts weighing their predictions as the game comes to fruition, there are several reasons why the San Francisco 49ers will absolutely win on Sunday. Below is a list of five points why I believe the 49ers will come out on top and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The San Francisco 49ers basically have the same team that went to the NFC Championship game last year. To be exact, 18 of the 22 starters this year were starting last year. Furthermore, three of those four players that weren’t staring last year, were at least on the team. Those players include quarterback Colin Kaepernick, right guard Alex Boone and outside linebacker Aldon Smith.
The only starter this year that wasn’t on last year’s team is wide receiver Randy Moss. However, he has more playoff experience than anyone on the 49ers’ roster, and with his successful playoff stints in Minnesota and New England, that should be a huge advantage as the 49ers move forward in their “Quest For Six.”
On the other hand, the Atlanta Falcons haven’t had much success in the playoffs. In the Matt Ryan era, they’ve been to the playoffs four times, to date, compiling a 1-3 record. The first win coming last week, in a last second, fourth quarter comeback, to beat the Seattle Seahawks.
Not to mention, they were the No. 1 seed in 2010 and lost to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round, 48-21. The Falcons seem to lack that killer instinct that the 49ers possess. Their knack for choking in crunch time is what separates the Super Bowl pretenders from Super Bowl contenders, which is why I believe the 49ers will win on Sunday against a very overrated Atlanta Falcons team.
The 49ers clearly have the better coaching staff and will devise a game-plan to create numerous favorable matchups. Whether running the ball or stopping the run, you can count on coordinators Greg Roman and Vic Fangio to instill a bright-minded game-plan to confuse the Atlanta Falcons on both sides of the ball.
When you look at the two head coaches, it’s a no-brainer who is the better coach. Although Falcons’ head coach Mike Smith won the Coach of the Year award in his first season in 1998, he is no Jim Harbaugh. As former Denver Broncos quarterback and current Executive VP of Football Operations, John Elway said in a recent press conference, “You make your money during the regular-season. You make your legacy in the postseason.” And I couldn’t agree more.
Harbaugh has enjoyed more playoff success than Smith, and the fact that he has been successful at both the college ranks and pros says a lot about Harbaugh as a teacher, mentor and leader. A true players coach, and one that will provided the 49ers with the upper hand on Sunday.
I’m a firm believer in the “defense wins championships” philosophy, and with the 49ers ranking second in scoring defense and fourth in rushing defense, there’s no question that the defense will show up big against the Falcons.
They worked way too hard during the off-season to lose now, and with leaders such as linebacker Patrick Willis, defensive end Justin Smith and free-safety Dashon Goldson taking control, they will not be denied.
As for the Atlanta Falcons’ defense, all I can say is, good luck. They have no Pro Bowlers, only washed up players nearing the end of their careers, such as cornerbacks Asante Samuel, Dunta Robinson and defensive end John Abraham.
To make matters worse, the Falcons pass defense is the 9th worst in the NFL. The 49ers, who are not known for a killer passing attack, should be able to use this to their advantage and shred the Falcons’ secondary into smithereens. Look for San Francisco to light up the scoreboard for at least 30 on Sunday, as Atlanta’s defense should be a non-factor throughout the game.
A true mark of a championship team is the ability to play through injuries without loss in production. Unfortunately, for the 49ers, they lost numerous key players on offense due to season-ending injuries to receivers Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and running back Kendall Hunter.
Despite these setbacks, however, the 49ers’ offense has continued to thrive, and it’s all thanks to depth. If this was any other team, they would be scrambling trying to find a replacement for their third and fourth wide receiver option, not the Niners.
Instead, they just whip out wide receivers Randy Moss and first-round pick A.J. Jenkins, out of their back pocket, no biggie. And as for losing back-up running back Kendall Hunter for the season, the 49ers had that covered too, promoting second-round pick LaMichael James from the practice squad. Like I said, a true Super Bowl team has depth, and the 49ers have plenty of it.
So the question remains, who do the Falcons try and stop on Sunday? I have no idea, but Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan better come up with something fast, or this can get out of hand real quick.
The 49ers are one of the best road teams in all of football, ranking tied for seventh in the regular season (5-3). They are capable of winning in any venue, and had to play in some very harsh environments this year, including Green Bay, New Orleans and New England. It does not matter where the 49ers play, as long as the field is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide, you can count on them winning.
Aside from a lop-sided loss in Seattle, San Francisco has been extremely consistent. Look for them to show the world on Sunday why they were Super Bowl favorites heading into the season, despite Matt Ryan’s near perfect home-field record.
With the 49ers being five-point favorites, look for them to not only cover the spread but break this game wide open, winning convincingly, 34-23.
Topics: A.J. Jenkins, Aldon Smith, Atlanta Falcons, Colin Kaepernick, Greg Roman, Jim Harbaugh, Justin Smith, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Mike Nolan, Mike Smith, NFC Championship Game, Patrick Willis, Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers, Vic Fangio