Tomorrow is critical for the Atlanta Falcons and they know it.
As the San Francisco 49ers prepare to travel to the Dome, the Falcons are preparing to prove their worth as they look to quiet those that doubted them this year and bring a NFC Championship title home. That is quite a load to carry and the Falcons faithful know that the road to get here has been hard, but definitely worth it. It is also only the third Championship game in franchise history.
Although Matt Ryan is already in the talks of becoming an “elite” quarterback, he will have to continue to live up to the hype through another 60 minutes tomorrow if he wants to lead his team to New Orleans. Over his career, Ryan currently holds a 1-3 record in playoff games. Coming off of a close win last week against Seattle, Atlanta will once again rely on his heroics and tenacity to pull them through tomorrow. With six pro-bowlers on San Francisco’s defense, Ryan’s work will be cut out for him.
For Ryan, his strength on offense is in the Falcons passing game, especially with Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez. If Ryan can get the ball in their hands, expect Atlanta to score quick and often. Although the 49ers pass rush has the potential to be a nuisance, they have not been much of a factor late in the season only totaling 10 sacks in their last five games and only one last week.
Another factor in tomorrow’s game, Colin Kaepernick. Not only is he fast, running a 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, but he can also pass. Kaepernick easily made a name for himself after rushing past a very strong Green Bay defense and walking away with 181-yards and posting an NFL single game record for a quarterback. So what do the Falcons need to focus on? Simply not being outrushed. If Kaepernick puts the ball in the air, most likely it will go to Michael Crabtree or possibly Vernon Davis.
Fortunately for the Falcons, the Dome will be extremely loud as we saw last week against the Seahawks. Even though the 49ers have a defense very capable of shutting down the Falcons quickly, Atlanta was quick to note that the playoff “plague” has been lifted since making it this far. Although it will definitely be a close and physical game, the Falcons have the momentum and homefield advantage on their side to “rise up” and recapture several years of missed chances.
As Tony Gonzalez stated earlier this week, only two wins to go.
Kick-off is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday.
About the Author
Written by Ashley Gulick
Sports Journalism is my passion! I keep up with the latest news on pro/college football, NASCAR and baseball....and just about everthing else. I grew up in Talladega, Ala., but moved to Georgia when I was 15. From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to be involved with sports somehow. Once I got into college and completed my degree in Communications, I knew that I had a passion for sports journalism. I have covered sports for the Kennesaw Sentinel (KSU's student paper), Marietta Daily Journal and Douglas County Sentinel.