Atlanta Falcons: 4 bold predictions for Week 15 vs. 49ers
After securing a statement road win against the Carolina Panthers, the Atlanta Falcons now are set for another pivotal late-season test as they will clash with the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15.
The Falcons provided a lifeline to their playoff aspirations in Week 14 with the 29-21 win over the Panthers. The Panthers offense did have a fair share of success in the contest thanks to the perfect 100 percent red zone touchdown percentage coupled with the 5.4 yards per play average. However, the Falcons defense came away with a trio of decisive takeaways, which included a 66-yard pick-six by linebacker Mykal Walker.
For more insight on the Falcons’ Week 15 matchup against the 49ers, listen below:
The 49ers come into Week 15 in promising form, as they have won four of their last five games. They needed overtime to pull off a crucial win over the Cincinnati Bengals last week.
As it stands in the chaotic NFC playoff picture, the 49ers hold the No. 6 seed in the conference. Still, the playoff seeding in the NFC could once again see major changes across the board pending several results in Week 15, including the matchup between the Falcons and 49ers.
If the Falcons aim to keep their playoff hopes alive at this late stage in the campaign, then they must achieve each of these four feats against the 49ers.
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Falcons Week 15 Predictions
4. Kyle Pitts puts an end to his receiving touchdown drought
Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts has posted promising performances over his rookie campaign. Still, the Falcons have not gotten the best out of him during their trips to the red zone.
Overall, Pitts has been targeted a mere nine times by quarterback Matt Ryan in the red zone. The former Florida Gators star has come away with two receptions for nine receiving yards and one receiving touchdown in this area of the field.
It is quite concerning that Falcons offensive coordinator Dave Ragone has not made Pitts a focal point in the team’s game planning in the red zone. If the Falcons look to overwhelm the 49ers secondary, then they must feature Pitts in key red zone plays.
Overall, Pitts comes into Week 15 with a single touchdown reception on the season, which came during Atlanta’s matchup with the New York Jets in Week 5.
3. Falcons secondary slows down the 49ers in the open field.
49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sure is fortunate to have several offensive weapons that can make the most out of their receptions in the open field.
Overall, the 49ers bolster a 6.2 yard after catch per reception average, which leads the league. On the other side, the Falcons sit near the bottom of the leaderboard in this stat, as only two teams in the NFL (Bills and Dolphins with a 4.2 figure) have notched a lower yards per reception average than theirs (4.5) coming into Week 15.
The Falcons sure will have to keep a close eye on just what the multi-dimensional 49ers offense plans to do this week. Whether it has been using wide receiver Deebo Samuel out of the backfield or finding tight end George Kittle in the open field, the 49ers’ efficiency in putting their offensive threats in the best position on the field has been a key factor behind their success as of late.
Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell and the rest of the team’s defensive backs sure will have a hefty task in going up against the unpredictable 49ers offense this week.
2. Matt Ryan records at least three passing touchdowns for the second time this season
Ryan comes into Week 15 with 17 passing touchdowns on the campaign. Barring any historic late-season surge by him, he will fail to record at least 30 touchdown passes for the third straight year.
Nonetheless, Ryan should post a vintage performance against the 49ers with at least three passing touchdowns thrown in the contest. The last time that he achieved this feat came in Week 4 of the season, as he notched four touchdown passes against the Washington Football Team, although it was not enough in the end to push Atlanta to what would have been its first home victory of the year.
1. Falcons shake up the NFC playoff picture with a win over the 49ers
There has been a multitude of surprising results in the NFL as of late, and the Falcons should produce another such game with a victory against the 49ers in Week 15.
A win for Atlanta over San Francisco could push the team to a playoff spot in the NFC playoff picture pending multiple results in Week 15. Thus, the Falcons need a win this week to shake up the seeding in the conference.