NFL Playoff Predictions: San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, 1/20/12, 3:00 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  San Francisco -3
Current Betting Line:  San Francisco -4
Opening Total:  47
Current Total:  48.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

san francisco 49ers football frank gore
The San Francisco 49ers will likely kick off as road favorites against the Atlanta Falcons in this year’s NFC Championship Game

San Francisco is coming off an impressive 45-31 win over the Green Bay Packers as three-point home favorites, while going OVER the total in a fifth consecutive contest.  The 49ers have been led by the play of second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick since taking over for Alex Smith, as he’s compiled a 98.7 passer rating and 6-2 record in eight games.  He gained 444 combined yards against the Packers last time out.  San Francisco is 5-5 ATS when playing in a dome the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 6-4 in that situation.

The 49ers ran for 323 yards against the Packers, which accounted for the fifth-best performance in the NFL in postseason history.  San Francisco has tallied an 11-5 record on the road during the Jim Harbaugh era, while also posting a remarkable 22-3-1 mark when out-rushing opponents.  Defensively, the team allowed just 157 plays of 10 or more yards this season, ranking first in the league in that particular category.  The franchise is aiming to advance to the Super Bowl for a sixth time.

Atlanta nearly gave away its game against the Seattle Seahawks last week after enjoying a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, coming away with a 30-28 victory over the Seattle Seahawks as 2.5-point home favorites.  “We were very fortunate to make the plays there at the end of the game to get the win,” commented Falcons coach Mike Smith.  The Falcons gained 162 rushing yards last week, averaging 6.8 yards per game, which was their highest total of the season.  Atlanta is 2-2 ATS as a home underdog since 2010, with the UNDER going 3-1 in those affairs.

The Falcons limited Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch to 46 yards on a 2.9 yards-per-carry average, but will be faced with another challenge this week, as the 49ers have one of the more potent ground attacks in the league.  Atlanta is 43-12 since 2008 when scoring first and will look to continue its success on third down from a week ago—converting 55 percent of its tries in that situation.

Sports bettors will likely back the Falcons due to their 6-2-2 ATS mark following a spread loss, while the 49ers are 0-4 ATS after allowing 30 or more points.

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