Tonight, the San Francisco 49ers will host what could be Candlestick Park's final game when the Atlanta Falcons come to town for Monday Night Football. The two teams last met on January 20th in the NFC Championship Game in Atlanta. The 49ers won that game 28-24, earning the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Offensively, the 49ers are ranked 25th in the league while the Falcons are ranked 15th. Defensively, the 49ers are ranked 2nd in the league while the Falcons are ranked 29th.
An interesting thing happened while awaiting the 49ers and Falcons to play each other. The Arizona Cardinals shook things up a bit by heading into Seattle and handing the Seahawks their first home loss of the season. In fact, the Seahawks had a 14-game winning streak at home. A Seattle win would have clinched the NFC West and home-field advantage for the Seahawks. Now, if the 49ers beat the Falcons, take care of the Cardinals on the road next week, and the Seahawks lose to the St. Louis Rams, it will be the 49ers that win the NFC West and earn a bye-week in the playoffs.
Regardless of all that, a victory over the Falcons will secure the 49ers at least the 6th seed in the playoffs. Winning next week as well will secure the 49ers at least the 5th seed in the playoffs. Throw in the fact that this may be Candlestick Park's farewell game and the 49ers have a lot to play for tonight.
The 49ers are coming off of a four game winning streak. As discussed in this week's podcast, the team's offense has been improving and not just getting hot at the right time. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a 104.7 quarterback rating and thrown seven touchdowns to just one interception during that span. Running back Frank Gore has 196 yards on the ground over the past two weeks, which were wins over Seattle and Tampa Bay. He secured his seventh 1,000-yard season last week against the Buccaneers.
The 49ers rushing offense, which ranks fifth in the league, will face a Falcons rush defense which ranks 29th. However, the Falcons have won two of their last three games and the defense has been forcing turnovers during that span. They forced seven against the Washington Redskins last week.
Atlanta's pass defense ranks 27th in the league and has allowed 59 plays of 20 yards or more.
Last week, the 49ers (10-4) defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-14. The Falcons (4-10) defeated the Washington Redskins 27-26.
The game kicks off at 5:40 PM PT and, as usual, you can visit 49erswebzone.com for the latest news and updates during and after the game.
The game will be televised nationally on ESPN. The 49ers are 14 point favorites.
Within Yahoo! Sports, a popular mobile scores application, 87% of fans believe that the 49ers will win this game.
Within our Pick 'em contest, 100% of fans believe that the 49ers will win this game.
You can follow the game live on NFL.com's Game Center.
You can also discuss the game with fans in the 49erswebzone.com forums. Become a fan of 49erswebzone.com on Facebook and Google+ or follow us on Twitter.
49ers Injury Report
Questionable: G Mike Iupati (knee), WR Mario Manningham (illness, knee), TE Vance McDonald (ankle), LB Dan Skuta (foot)
Probable: LB Navorro Bowman (wrist), CB Tarell Brown (ribs), WR Michael Crabtree (ankle, wrist), C Jonathan Goodwin (not injury related), RB Frank Gore (ankle, knee), DT Justin Smith (shoulder)
Falcons Injury Report
Out: WR Darius Johnson (ankle), S Zeke Motta (hand, neck)
Questionable: TE Tony Gonzalez (toe), RB Antone Smith (knee), LB Sean Weatherspoon (knee)
Probable: S Thomas DeCoud (concussion)