Atlanta Falcons vs. San Francisco 49ers
Tip-off: Sunday, January 20, 2013 – 3:00 PM ET
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Now that the San Francisco 49ers are back in the NFC championship game the team is feeling confident about impressing their YouWager fans and taking that next step in 2013 behind multi-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The top-seeded Atlanta Falcons will try to go for their first NFL playoff victory under coach Mike Smith on Sunday when they meet the 49ers at the Georgia Dome with a berth in Super Bowl XLVII on the line.
Oddsmakers aren’t surprised that the Falcons (14-3) and the 49ers (12-4-1) have made it this far as both teams were among the favorites to represent the NFC in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
Atlanta made it to the South title while securing the conference’s best record for the second time in three seasons. Second-seeded Niners had to wait until Week 17 to clinch the NFC West, however they’re back in the title game after suffering a mistake-filled 20-17 overtime defeat to the New York Giants in the previous season.
This postseason, coach Jim Harbaugh can count on Kaepernick under center instead of Alex Smith, who threw five touchdowns without an interception in last season’s NFL playoffs and was one of the league’s highest-rated passers until suffering a concussion in Week 10.
The 25 year-old quarterback has a 98.7 passer rating while going 6-2 as a starter since taking over, and his overall performance in last Saturday’s 45-31 divisional round win against the Green Bay Packers appears to make the 49ers a more dangerous rival than it was a year ago. Kaepernick rushed for a quarterback playoff-record 181 yards with a pair of touchdowns and overcame an early interception returned for a TD by throwing for 263 with two scores.
Atlanta has faced some difficulties this season due to versatile quarterbacks. Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton threw for 502 yards with four TDs and no picks while rushing for 202 and two scores in two games against them last years. In last Sunday’s 30-28 victory over Seattle, Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson passed for 385 yards with two TDs and an INT while running for 60 and a score on seven carries.
The Falcons surrendered 5.90 yards per play this NFL season — 29th in the league — and allowed Seattle to average 7.44 in the divisional round.
Atlanta has won four in a row against San Francisco, most recently 16-14 in 2010. The Falcons also won the teams’ only previous playoff meeting, 20-18 at home Jan. 9, 1999.
Matt Ryan has completed 64.0 percent of his passes for 602 yards with three TDs and three INTs while going 2-0 against the 49ers. Roddy White has 18 receptions for 369 yards and two scores in three career wins against them.