Local Football Bloggers
There are a lot of things that will be needed to slow down the Atlanta Falcons offense in the NFC Championship Game. The 49er secondary will have their hands full chasing Roddy White and Julio Jones around, but the key match-up is going to be NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis vs. Tony Gonzalez. There is no doubt that Gonzalez is the greatest ever at the tight end position, but this is a match up that San Francisco can win.
Despite having to travel on the road to play the Atlanta Falcons, the 49ers are in a good position to pull out a win on Sunday. The keys to getting over the hump, that is the NFC Championship Game, will be a mix of mental and physical. Both teams are solid and equally talented, but if San Francisco can control three things, they will find themselves one win away from the Lombardi Trophy.
When the New York Giants beat San Francisco last year in the NFC Championship Game, it was the 49ers’ inability to make a big play offensively that was a big reason for the loss. The team used the off season to address this problem, and as they find themselves one win away from the Super Bowl, the offense looks nothing like the one that let them down in this very game a year ago.
After dismantling the Green Bay Packers on Saturday, the 49ers find themselves back in the NFC Championship Game. With the Falcons holding serve against the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco will travel to Atlanta with one win standing in the way of both teams of a trip to the Super Bowl. By playing a Falcons team who ended the season as the number 1 seed, in the Georgia Dome, the 49ers will be the underdogs, but have to like their chances of pulling off the upset and moving on to the Super Bowl.
Of all the things that resulted from the 49ers’ first round bye, none could be bigger then the week off to rest. Due to the importance of the regular season finale, San Francisco had to play to win, and could not rest their starters, but were able to get some much needed rest while the Wild Card Series were played. The 49ers as a team are as healthy as they can be, and more importantly, the news on Justin Smith is good.
One of the major concerns for the 49ers as they prepare to take on the Green Bay Packers Saturday is the kicking game. For a team that has such a sound defense, three points can go a long way, and more times then not playoff games are decided by a last second field goal. As David Akers has regressed this season, the team signed Billy Cundiff to evaluate the teams kicking options, yet with the game less then a week away there has still been no decision made. This in camp battle doesn’t figure to have a winner declared until right before the game, but with no clear favorite, the best option for the team is to deactivate Akers and go with the new guy.
With the Packers up first, the San Francisco 49ers will have a very difficult opponent to get past in order to make a trip back to the NFC Championship Game. Although the key to success in the game will start and end with stopping the Green Bay Offense, the 49ers will still need to score the ball, and that falls on the shoulder of Colin Kaepernick. The reason for Jim Harbaugh switching to Kaepernick in the middle of the season was for the first year starter to take them to the Super Bowl, and it’s time for Colin to make his coach look like a genius.
David Akers wrapped up a regular season that he would like to forget. Unfortunately, with the playoffs around the corner and a team that needs contributions from all phases, the team can’t forget. The result is that with time to prepare for their eventual playoff game, San Francisco is working out kickers to make sure that specials teams is not again the downfall of this team in the postseason.
In a 16 game, 17 week season, a football team goes through a lot up ups and downs. San Francisco’s regular season was no exception, luckily with more good then bad, and completed a remarkable journey finding themselves right where they were a year ago. The reason for the teams trip back to the playoffs is the man on the sideline, Jim Harbaugh.
After a disappointing game last week, San Francisco bounced back against Arizona, and just in time for the playoffs. After a slow start, both sides of the ball woke up in the second half and the team cruised to a relatively easy victory. The 49ers can feel very good as it enters the playoffs with a lot in their favor, as the final week went exactly as they could have hoped.