Saturday, January 19, 2013
5 Burning Questions and a Championship Game Prediction
1) Michael Crabtree
How will the 49ers leading receiver perform in the wake of sexual assault allegations that according to Matt Maiocco arose Friday and included questioning with investigators from the SFPD Special Victims Unit? Crabtree has twice the number of receptions as the second leading receiver, and his performance is key to any the success of the 49er offense.
2) Justin Smith
Can Smith's elbow hold up again this week? Smith is the key to a 49ers run defense that must stop the Falcon rushing attack. The 49ers defense has shown they can shut teams down if they make them one dimensional. If Smith and the defense allow the Falcons to run the ball 25+ times on Sunday it will be a long day.
3) Colin Kaepernick
Kaepernick is coming off what could be the single most impressive quarterback performance in playoff history. He has shown in each of his starts the ability to move the offense in a variety of ways. Possibly his toughest test came against the Rams in the 49ers loss in St Louis. The Rams played a lot of zone coverage and by utilizing their pass rush and taking away Kaepernick's running lanes were able to hold the 49ers offense in check. Can the Falcons match that type of game plan and success?
4) Vernon Davis
The 49ers Tight End has not seen the number of opportunities this season that he has in past years. The Seahawks had a lot of success last Sunday finding their Tight End against the Falcons Linebackers. Is this the game in which Davis finally takes over.
5) Greg Roman
Will Greg Roman stick with the run game? The 49ers inability to win 3 games in a row this season has been well documented. A running theme in all of those losses/ties has been the 49ers coming out with a heavy emphasis on the pass early on. With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line will Roman finally stick to what works best for this offense, and not try to get too cute like he did in last years NFC Championship Game, remember the fumbled revers and going away from a working run game in the second half.
49ers 13 Falcons 17
The 13 points for the 49ers reflects their average point total from every 3rd game this season, and the 4 point margin of victory equals the Falcons average margin for each of their home wins in 2012. In addition, no team in the 46 year history of the Super Bowl has made the big game without having a 3 game win streak during the regular season. The 2012 49ers longest winning streak was 2.
This will be a tightly contested game in which the Falcons do a good job of containing Kaepernick, Crabtree struggles due to the allegations, and the 49ers special teams issues come back to haunt them.