Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez will have to navigate an unforgiving 49ers defense to reach his first Super Bowl.
(Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports)
With the NFC Championship Game just around the corner--and only one other NFL game on the schedule--tons of experts are weighing in on the outcome.
The last time Atlanta faced San Francisco, it was 2010 and neither team looked great as the Falcons eeked out a 16-14 victory. Everyone expects the offense to be more... present.
So who's saying what about who's winning what?
- At USAToday.com, only three of the eight writers are picking Atlanta over San Francisco. Two picked the Falcons to make the Super Bowl before the playoffs started, and three picked the 49ers to WIN the Super Bowl before the season.
- The betmakers in Las Vegas are siding heavily with the 49ers, making the Dirty Bird 4-point underdogs at home with a 6-to-1 shot at winning the Super Bowl.
- ESPN's KC Joyner (Insider subscription required) doesn't just think the Falcons will beat the 49ers, he gives 10 reasons why, including Matt Ryan's calm excellence and Colin Kaepernick's trouble when throwing the ball 30+ times a game.
- Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio is putting his faith in Kaepernick's ability to block out the Georgia Dome crowd to duplicate last week's performance.
- The Falcons don't have many fans at NFL.com where only five of the 18 experts polled are picking Atlanta in Sunday's match-up.
- Of course, it isn't hard to tell who 11Alive's Commuter Dude thinks will win. See what he's doing in San Francisco this week.
- Only two experts at CBSSports.com--out of nine--think the Falcons have what it'll take to Rise Up against the 49ers for a bid in the Super Bowl.
- Former Falcons running back Jamaal Anderson, who was on the last Atlanta team to play in the Super Bowl, predicts a win for the home team Sunday.
- At Yahoo! Sports 'Shutdown Corner' blog, Bryan McIntyre says the 49ers' strong defense coupled with Kaepernick's stellar play will lead them over the Falcons.
- Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is so confident in the Falcons he's made a wager with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. The losing team's city lights its buildings with the winning team's colors.
- Readers at Yahoo! Sports are picking the 49ers over the Falcons, 74-percent to 26-percent.
- Pat Yasinskas, at ESPN.com, acknowledges that the experts give the Falcons no chance--including 12 of ESPN's 14 panelists--but he's picking Atlanta, saying home field matters and Ryan will shine.
- To win the game Sunday, USA Today's Nate Davis says the Falcons have to get out to a fast, early start and force Kaepernick into a corner. Otherwise, he says it's San Fran's game to lose.