49ers: Game breakdown and prediction for Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons

49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

A dip in strength of opponent this week for the San Francisco 49ers, but nonetheless a dangerous potential trap game sandwiched between four monster matchups.

It’s been a murderer’s row of opponents for the San Francisco 49ers the last two weeks, and two more still lie ahead in the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks.

But now here come the 4-9 Atlanta Falcons into Levi’s Stadium to try and play major spoiler for one of the Super Bowl frontrunners. Will the Niners be able to take care of business and avoid being lulled to sleep by a down opponent? Let’s check out the matchup!

For as bad as the Falcons have been this year, they’ve won three of their last five coming out of their bye week and their defense has actually kept its head above water — well enough to hold the New Orleans Saints to 35 points and the Carolina Panthers to 23 points across two games apiece.

There are also some positives going for them in this 49ers matchup. San Francisco is missing a bunch of guys on defense and even Weston Richburg on the offensive line.

Unless I’m wrong, Richard Sherman, Dee Ford, K’Waun Williams, Jaquiski Tartt, and D.J. Jones are all ruled out for this game. As good as their defense has been to this point, they’re now missing a good chunk of players and they did let up 46 points last week to New Orleans.

We know what the game plan is in Atlanta. Matt Ryan is going to throw the ball down the field like crazy and it’ll be up to the remaining defensive backs to keep track of Julio Jones and the younger receivers filling in for Calvin Ridley (hurt) and Mohamed Sanu (traded).

But you know what, I’m not going to overthink this. A 10.5 point spread with the way the Falcons are playing and how banged up the Niners are is tempting to try and take the underdog.

But at the end of the day, the 49ers are still the best team in the NFC with the better coaching in this matchup. Their defensive line is still legit and Atlanta’s offensive line has been statistically one of the worst in football this year letting up 41 sacks this year (tied for eighth-worst in the league).

I’m rolling with the 49ers in this game 34-23.

I think their offense carries the day against a weaker Falcons defense that’s been playing up of late and Jimmy Garoppolo finds his groove in the passing game against the younger defensive backs of Atlanta now that Desmond Trufant is on IR.

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