The 49ers have rounded back into form after a tough start, taking over the NFC West lead with one of the league’s best defenses. They came away from Week 5 with a few significant injuries, so could the Falcons have sneaky value as a home underdog?
Let’s make predictions, dive into the depth charts, and take a look at the odds ahead of Sunday’s matchup in Atlanta.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons Betting Odds
The 49ers enter as 5.5-point road favorites, sitting at -230 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 43.5 points.
The Falcons have covered the spread in each of their first five games this season, and oddsmakers could be starting to catch up. Even after the 49ers dominated the Panthers (getting Matt Rhule fired in the process), this line is under a touchdown. The over/under could be on the high end considering the lows we’ve seen from these offenses at times.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons Prediction
The Falcons have played inspired football this season. If not for a brutal roughing-the-passer call against Grady Jarrett against Tampa, Arthur Smith’s team might be on a three-game win streak.
The offense has to be more consistent, though, and that’s why it’s tough to pick the Falcons outright here. The unit began to find some traction in the 4th quarter on Sunday even without Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Pitts. While Pitts may be back for this game, Patterson will remain out and hinder their running game.
The 49ers have looked terrific in back-to-back weeks. Most importantly, they’ve gotten their running game going with Jeff Wilson Jr. The Falcons’ run defense hasn’t been too bad, but the ‘Niners have a chance to again take advantage.
The 49ers statistically have the best run defense in the NFL through five weeks. That could be a problem for the run-happy Falcons without Patterson. It’ll be interesting to see if the Falcons throw the ball more given the 49ers’ depleted defensive line. It’ll be tough for San Francisco to generate the pressure it relies on, plus the defense just lost a starting cornerback in Emmanuel Moseley.
If the Falcons are going to stay in this game, it’s going to take a strong defensive performance. Atlanta’s defense had a bend-don’t-break mentality against the Buccaneers, and they nearly won the game because of it. I’m not sure Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers’ passing game will have the same success in Atlanta as they did against the lifeless Panthers.
The bend-don’t break pattern is why the Falcons rank poorly in passing yards allowed but don’t give up too many points. Is Garoppolo the type of quarterback who can finish the drives other quarterbacks haven’t in Atlanta? Unlikely. The Falcons have been showing enough heart on both sides of the ball to keep this game close at home.
- The Falcons are 5-0 ATS this season. Even with three losses, we haven’t seen Atlanta in an uncompetitive game yet
- The 49ers are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games against NFC opponents. The only ATS loss in that stretch came against the Bears in Week 1
- The under is 7-1 in the 49ers’ last 8 games overall. The team with the No. 1 statistical defense in football figures to play another low-scoring game this weekend
San Francisco 49ers Injuries: DE Nick Bosa (groin) and K Robbie Gould (knee) are questionable after leaving Sunday’s win over Carolina. Defensive linemen Arik Armstead (foot) and Javon Kinlaw (knee) are unlikely to play. CB Emmanuel Moseley is out for the season after tearing his ACL in Week 5. Safety Jimmie Ward will have hand surgery this week, though he hasn’t been ruled out yet. LT Trent Williams (ankle) is getting closer to a return but isn’t likely to play in Week 6.
Atlanta Falcons Injuries: Running back Cordarrelle Patterson is on IR with a knee injury and can’t return until Week 9. Tight end Kyle Pitts is questionable after missing Week 5 with a hamstring injury.
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for 49ers vs. Falcons below.
49ers Defensive Line vs. Falcons Offensive Line
The 49ers do a great job of getting to the quarterback, but it’s looking like they’ll be severely shorthanded in Week 6. Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw aren’t likely to play, while Nick Bosa could join them on the sidelines. That leaves Samson Ebukam and the second-team unit to try and get to Marcus Mariota.
The Falcons’ line hasn’t been spectacular but has been good enough so far this season. If Mariota has plenty of time to throw and Kyle Pitts returns this weekend, Atlanta’s offense could surprise.
Jeff Wilson Jr. vs. Falcons Run Defense
Jimmy Garoppolo and the passing game have looked fine for two weeks now, but Jeff Wilson Jr.’s emergence has been the biggest factor for this offense. Wilson rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers, and he’s averaging 5.1 yards/carry through five games.
Atlanta’s run defense hasn’t had a shutdown game yet. Though Leonard Fournette didn’t dominate on the ground in Week 5, Nick Chubb and Rashaad Penny both had efficient days against the unit. The Falcons would be much better off if they slowed Wilson and forced Garoppolo to win this game himself.