The Falcons offense makes me nervous. More specifically, the Falcons receiving corps terrifies me.
Although I believe Matt Ryan is a competent passer and game manager, I am nervous that their freak-of-nature wide receivers might be the ones to push around the 49ers on Sunday.
Sure the 49ers have a solid defense. No. 2 and No. 3 in points allowed and yards allowed, respectively. But guess what, this combination of monster receivers is unlike anything the 49ers have seen all year. That's right, go check the schedule, the Niners haven't faced a team with two football-catching machines like Roddy White, Julio Jones and the Falcons all year.
The closest thing the 49ers have seen was the NY Giants Victor Cruz-Hakeem Nicks tandem, and they got tore up. The final score of that game was 26-3, but it might as well have been 56-3. The 49ers were punked hard and continuously burned by a competent quarterback with a tough-to-defend receiving duo, their more-big-than-quick runners and sure-handed tight end.
Add the current play of Carlos Rodgers who was son'd over and over again by the Seahawks in Week 16 and gave up a big-yardage play against the Packers on Sunday, and my sports anxiety has begun to percolate. Although I can't be mad at his play Sunday because it didn't jeopardize the game in any way, I definitely zeroed in on Rodgers as a chink in the defensive armor.
So let's assume that the Falcons and their team of coaches have determined that the area to attack the 49ers is in the defensive backfield. I mean, the only other area of the defense for an opponent to attack would be the defensive ends and their ability to contain the line or recognize a screen or a sweep, and swoop hard on the flats. A weakness that was exposed in that disgusting Week 16 game in Seattle, and even though Justin Smith and his sweet Budweiser tattoo are back, we have to assume the Falcons will go test these boundaries before they try and step to the linebacking corps.
The Falcons don't really rush as hard as the Seahawks do, only compiling 1397 total yards on the ground so I think Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman should have the ability to focus on Tony Gonzalez and passes up the middle, while the line stacks up the middle and contains the outside from Quad-zilla and the rest of the Falcons meager backfield.
Bringing us back to Carlos Rodgers, the 49ers defensive backfield and whether or not they can come close to locking down Roddy White and Julio Jones.
We saw last week that the 49ers can go blow-for-blow with one of top offenses in the league - but on the road, in a dome with a struggling kicker; I'm nervous.