49ers vs. Falcons NFC Championship Game Picks, Predictions 1/20

Last Updated: January 13th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta FalconsThe 2013 NFL playoff picks are going to be difficult to make, and in this one, the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons are set to do battle with one another. Check out our 49ers vs. Falcons predictions and the NFC Championship Game keys to the game for San Francisco vs. Atlanta.

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#2 San Francisco 49ers @ #1 Atlanta Falcons
49ers vs. Falcons Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
49ers vs. Falcons Date/Time: Sunday, January 20th, 3:00 p.m. (ET)
49ers vs. Falcons On TV: FOX
Key #1: Vernon Davis has to be a factor for the Niners
We know that the 49ers have been a remarkable team all year long, and they put up an outstanding effort against the Green Bay Packers last week. However, if there has been a knock on QB Colin Kaepernick, it is that he just hasn’t really figured out how to get a great rapport consistently with any of his receivers. Last week, the Falcons were just destroyed by TE Zach Miller, who finished the day with eight receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown. Miller isn’t the only tight end this year to light up the Falcons. Five tight ends since November 29th have put up at least 50 receiving yards against this Atlanta defense. Davis was expected to have a heck of a season, but he only had 41 receptions for 548 yards with five TDs. He also had just one catch against the Packers, but it did go for 44 yards. That now gives Davis just seven receptions in his last seven games dating back to Week 12 against the New Orleans Saints. If Davis isn’t going to be able to figure out how to get the job done, Kaepernick might have a tough time trying to get together with his receivers. Only WR Michael Crabtree had more than two receptions against Green Bay, and with DB Asante Samuel matched up with Crabtree all day on Sunday, someone else will have to step it up. Davis is the perfect man to do just that.

49ers @ Falcons Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
San Francisco 49ers -3.5
Atlanta Falcons +3.5
Over/Under 47
Click Here to Bet Your 49ers vs. Falcons Picks!


Key #2: The Falcons have to get some pressure on Colin Kaepernick
DE John Abraham spent most of the game on the sidelines with an ankle injury in the Divisional playoff game, and as a result, QB Russell Wilson was able to run all over the field. Wilson finished with 385 passing yards and 60 rushing yards, and a lot of what he created over the course of the game came on the move. QB Colin Kaepernick has proven that he has ice water in his veins, and he isn’t going to be worried about playing on the road in this situation. He beat the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints on the road in the regular season, and in his first playoff start, he rebounded from throwing a pick six on the first drive of the game by rushing for 181 yards and two TDs and throwing for 263 yards and two TDs. Atlanta did get two sacks on Wilson, but that just wasn’t good enough, especially in the second half. With Abraham certainly in doubt for this coming week’s game, someone else is going to need to get into the backfield and force Kaepernick to throw the ball, because if he gets on the run like Wilson successfully did time and time again on Sunday, it is going to be a long day for this defense.

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Key #3: Atlanta absolutely has to run the football
Sure, you can pick on what the Falcons had done in the past in the playoffs and you can say that QB Matt Ryan and Head Coach Mike Smith had never won a playoff game since coming to Atlanta. However, the real NFL expert handicappers that disliked the Falcons did so because they didn’t run the ball well all season long, and they really didn’t play great defense. In the first half against the Seahawks, they did both of those items. They held twice on defense in the red zone, and they rushed the ball for 133 yards. In the second half, they allowed three touchdowns on the first three drives of the half on defense, and they only rushed for 34 yards. Needless to say, with as close as the Seahawks came to winning on Sunday, the Falcons are lucky to be here. If they don’t find a way to run the ball against a San Francisco defense that allowed just 94.2 yards per game this year on the ground, this game won’t be even close, as Matty Ice proved last week that he probably isn’t winning the NFC by himself without the help of RB Jacquizz Rodgers and RB Michael Turner.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Sunday, January 13th, 2013 @ 5:21 pm (EST)
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