In a contest that many have called the best NFL game so far this season, the San Francisco 49ers withstood the offensive surges of the New Orleans Saints, using their own offensive explosion punctuated by George Kittle's monster fourth-down catch-and-run conversion to win 48-46 on a last second field goal from Robbie Gould, catapulting them to the top seed in the NFC and first place in the NFC West.


But with the Seahawks right on their heels, the Rams finding their form and injuries mounting, the Niners can't afford to rest on laurels at home or take weeks off, starting this Sunday with the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.

When: Sunday December 15th, 2019 at 1:25pm PST (FOX)
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Line: 49ers -11, o/u 47.5

Atlanta Falcons
Since coming out of their bye week in Week 9, the Falcons have won three of five, including each of their road games and a 40-20 drubbing of the Carolina Panthers in Week 14.

After fourteen weeks, Atlanta ranks 25th in Football Outsiders' weighted total DVOA at -13.0 percent (represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games), 20th in offensive weighted DVOA at -3.2 percent and 23rd in weighted defensive DVOA at 8.5 percent.

The Falcons' offense ranks 7th with 376.5 yards per game, 14th with 23.1 points per game, 3rd with 295.7 passing yards per game, 30th with 80.8 rushing yards per game, 14th with 5.6 offensive yards per play and 6th with 26.24 seconds per play (pace).

Atlanta's defense is 21st in giving up 366.4 yards per game, 26th in yielding 26.4 points per game, 24th with 258.4 passing yards conceded per game, 15th in allowing 108.0 rushing yards per game and 23rd with 5.8 defensive yards per play.

The Falcons' offensive line is ranked 25th in run blocking and 16th in pass protection. Atlanta's defensive line ranks 18th in adjusted line yards and 30th in adjusted sack rate. Matt Ryan ranks 16th with a DYAR of 382 and 14th with a total QBR of 56.3. The Falcons have an ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) score of 0.0 and are 5-8 ATS and 5-8 to the over/under so far this season.

San Francisco 49ers
Through fourteen weeks, San Francisco is ranked 3rd in weighted DVOA at 29.8 percent, 9th in weighted offensive DVOA at 6.1 percent and 2nd in weighted defensive DVOA at -23.3 percent.

The 49ers' offense is 4th with 388.6 yards per game, 2nd with 30.5 points per game, 13th with 239.5 passing yards per game, 2nd with 149.1 rushing yards per game, 5th with 6.0 offensive yards per play and 28th with 28.93 seconds per play.

San Francisco's defense is 2nd in allowing 267.4 yards per game, 3rd by conceding 17.6 points per game, 1st in giving up 150.8 passing yards per game, 22nd in yielding 116.6 rushing yards per game and first with 4.5 defensive yards per play .

The Niners' offensive line is ranked 13th in run blocking and 8th in pass protection. San Francisco's defensive line is 11th in adjusted line yards and 1st in adjusted sack rate. Jimmy Garoppolo ranks 11th with a DYAR of 646 and 11th with a total QBR of 60.0. The Niners have an ESPN FPI score of 8.5 and are 8-4-1 ATS and 6-7 to the over/under this season.

Prediction
Though San Francisco got the all-important win in New Orleans, the Saints' ability to move the ball on the Niners' defense was somewhat concerning, and while we expect it to bounce back from that performance, its ability to do so may be affected by injuries to Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, D.J. Jones and K'Waun Williams.


Losing Weston Richburg for the season was a major loss for San Francisco but credit Kyle Shanahan for his mastery of exploiting NFC South defenses as his play-calling and offense was outstanding otherwise, rushing for 162 yards and a touchdown on New Orleans' rushing defense (which was top-3 prior to Week 14) and receiving for 384 yards and five touchdowns. Jimmy Garoppolo continues to improve and prove naysayers wrong as the season progresses and he was impressive in the hostile environment of the Superdome, throwing four touchdown passes and completing 74 percent of his passes.

Now Shanahan will face another NFC South defense but this time it will be against his former team, and we expect San Francisco's offense to put up points against Atlanta. We predicted that the Niners would beat the Falcons in our preseason analysis but double digits are always hard to feel comfortable laying.

Prior to their Week 9 bye, Atlanta averaged 20.6 points per game but after its bye it has averaged 27 points per game, almost a full touchdown more. While the Falcons have not faced a defense like San Francisco's, we anticipate that the 49ers defense might be a bit weary after the past two contests and not at full strength due to injuries which could allow Atlanta to find ways to score as well. Pick: Over 47.5

Season:
SU: 6-7
ATS: 5-8

Poll

  • What is your best bet for Niners vs Falcons on 12/15/19?
  • 49ers -11
  • Falcons +11
  • Over 47.5
  • Under 47.5