Every week before the Falcons game, I'll be selecting one player to keep an especially close eye on. This week, it's running back Michael Turner.
Yeah, you're thinking you already watch Michael Turner closely every week.You're probably right.
Still, this is one of those interesting games for Turner, a back who has well-documented struggles against good defenses and well-documented explosions against lesser ones. In the 49ers, he's facing a team that has had some success shutting down backs, but is hardly elite. It could go either way.
Last year, Turner managed a solid 22 carries for 97 yards, but stretched those yards into three touchdowns as the Falcons beat the crap out of the Niners. Of course, that was a Turner that wasn't splitting any carries with Jason Snelling, a Turner who looked ready to bust out like it was 2008 before averaging just over two yards a carry each of the next two weeks. Given how important it is to get the run going and keep himself on the field, Turner will be wanting a good one here.
Reasonable expectations? I'm going with 15 carries for 80 yards, a touchdown and one catch. Let's not get too crazy here, right? That will be plenty to set up the pass and put the Falcons in a position to win, and perhaps keep Snelling on the bench a little more often.
Watch The Burner closely.