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Falcons offense vs. 49ers defense: Scoring early is a priority

The Falcons need a Usain Bolt type start against the 49ers.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a disappointing loss last week against the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Falcons continue to prove that no game is over until the very end. The resilience of this group is very encouraging, as I can’t recall a Falcons team that has found a way to claw themselves back into games week in and week out. This looks like a well-conditioned team that can fight for four full quarters with no visible drop off.

While that is certainly a plus, the concern lately is that they’re starting incredibly slowly, which is putting them in a position to have to fight back. This is an issue that head coach Arthur Smith has to remedy as quickly as possible to put the team in a better position to win games. The hope is that this begins against a very talented San Francisco 49er defense.

How does the offense stack up against them?

In the trenches

I have to openly admit that I’m a huge fan of what general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have done up front defensively for the 49ers. Running an even front, the 49ers have straight beasts that are led by Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw. As of now, it’s possible that none of the aforementioned players will play Sunday, as all are listed as questionable, but even their depth is solid. I was a fan of Hasaan Ridgeway, Charles Omenihu and Drake Jackson coming out of college. This is basically a unit, in its entirety, that I would’ve loved to see the Falcons draft.

This Falcons front offensively is starting to gain my respect. While they’ve made some mistakes and have looked a bit outmatched at times, including for long stretches last week, this is one tough, gritty and feisty bunch. As a unit, they play with a very nasty and physical demeanor, and they look to set the tone in the running game. This group, led by Chris Lindstrom, who is playing at an All-Pro level at right guard, had a respectable performance against one of the more talented defensive fronts in football in the Buccaneers. The hope is they have a solid performance against an equally talented and deep DL in the 49ers.

Advantage: 49ers

The Skill Positions

This 49ers defense has talent everywhere, but if there’s a weakness, it’s on the back end. They have a talented LB corps lead by Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, and the secondary is led by Jimmie Ward, who also looks to be out this coming Sunday after it was reported that he will be having surgery his left hand. As a result, veteran Tashaun Gipson Jr. will be taking the starting role at free safety against the Falcons.

It was very encouraging to see the running back group of Tyler Allgeier, Caleb Huntley and Avery Williams be effective last week against the Buccaneers. That being stated, the loss of Cordarrelle Patterson was felt on the field. The hope is that Kyle Pitts will be ready to go against the 49ers because even though he hasn’t seen as many touches as we all would hope, he still garners lots of attention when he’s on the field.

Also, Drake London is really getting his feet under him as the team’s X receiver. Again, I feel comfortable with the weapons the Falcons have on offense. Coach Smith and staff just need to ensure that ball is going into the hands of his playmakers to have an impact.

Advantage: Falcons


The 49ers are a highly talented group and sit atop their division with a 3-2 record. That being stated, they’ve already been decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball. For this game, I do expect a bit more of the same from Coach Smith offensively when it comes to dictating the tempo and running the ball.

The Falcons are currently the 3rd best rushing team in the NFL, but are ranked 30th in passing yards. While I do see the Falcons having some success on the ground against this hobbled defensive front of the 49ers, Coach Smith must find a way to get the passing game going and put some points on the board early in Mercedes Benz stadium to get the crowd going. This includes giving Marcus Mariota some easy reads and quick throws to get him into some sort of a rhythm.

While I’m giving this 49ers defense the edge as it is deep and talented, this Falcons offense is more than capable of being effective and productive against them. especially with injuries piling up.

Advantage: 49ers