[4:05 PM] 49ers @ Falcons

Who will WIN this matchup?

San Francisco 49ers (1-12)

@ Atlanta Falcons (8-5)


The Atlanta Falcons probably won’t be at full strength when they host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but they hope they won’t need to be. The Falcons expect to get by without several key players and preserve their spot atop the NFC South with a win over the woeful 49ers. The Falcons are tied with the surging Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the top of the NFC South and a game behind the Detroit Lions for the conference’s second seed. All three of Atlanta’s remaining games are against teams with losing records, but with so much on the line in terms of their postseason scenario, the Falcons already are in playoff mode.

The 49ers have lost 12 straight since a season-opening shutout of the Los Angeles Rams and squandered a 17-3 halftime lead in last week’s 23-17 overtime loss to the New York Jets.

San Francisco hasn’t had many bright spots in 2016, but the offense showed signs of life last week with Carlos Hyde rushing for a career-high 193 yards and catching a touchdown pass while Colin Kaepernick put together a decent outing. Kaepernick will be without one of his top receivers in Torrey Smith, who is recovering from a concussion suffered against the Jets. The league’s worst defense melted down in the second half last week and has allowed 400 or more total yards in six of the past eight games.

Atlanta boasts the league’s highest-scoring offense but put up pedestrian numbers in last week’s 42-14 win at Los Angeles with Julio Jones – the league’s leading receiver – sidelined with a sprained toe. Quarterback Matt Ryan is putting up MVP-like numbers, leading the league in rating (113.2) and ranking second in passing yards (4,050), but the status of his receiving corps is up in the air with Jones and Mohamed Sanu (groin) both nursing injuries. Atlanta’s young defense has had its share of growing pains but turned in a dominant outing against the Rams, forcing five turnovers and scoring two defensive touchdowns.

Atlanta LB Vic Beasley is tied for the NFL lead in sacks (13.5) and leads the league with six forced fumbles, including four sacks and two forced fumbles in his past four home games.


StreakSmarts Pick: Atlanta Falcons

Confidence: 7/10

StreakSmarter Pick