Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers Preview

Expect the Falcons' running game to be status quo on Monday night. (Curtis Compton)

Expect the Falcons’ running game to be status quo on Monday night. (Curtis Compton)

In what will be the last game in Candlestick Park, the Atlanta Falcons travel out to the west coast to take on the San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game.

San Francisco advanced to the Super Bowl after battling back from a 17-0 deficit at one point to win the game 28-24.

This time around, however, the stakes aren’t as high: Atlanta was eliminated from playoff contention in Week 11 and San Francisco can secure a playoff spot with a win Monday night.

The 49ers (10-4) are currently on a four-game win streak, and it’s no coincidence that quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been playing largely mistake-free football throughout that stretch.

San Francisco’s fifth-ranked rushing attack led by Frank Gore could prove troublesome for Atlanta’s porous run defense.

The Falcons (4-10) haven’t held an opponent to less than 100 yards rushing since Week 3 when they held the Miami Dolphins to 90 yards on the ground, and there’s no reason to expect that streak to snap against the 49ers’ potent running game.

Atlanta will miss the playoffs for just the second time since 2008. The team last failed to make the postseason in 2009, a year in which Matt Ryan missed two games due to injury.

Ryan has thrown 12 of his 14 interceptions on the road. Against the 49ers’ fourth-ranked defense, passing could prove to be difficult.

Atlanta’s run game has struggled all season long as evident by its league-worst 79.3 yards per game. Couple of that against San Francisco’s sixth-ranked run defense that allows 99.4 yards per game, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

While last season’s NFC championship game was thrilling from start to finish, this regular season game has all the makings of a blowout.

The Falcons lose badly here to earn loss number 11.

Numbers Comparison

Atlanta Falcons:

Points Scored: 22.1 (22nd)
Total Offense: 341.5 (16th)
Passing Offense: 262.2 (8th)
Rushing Offense: 79.3 (32nd)

Points Allowed: 27.7 (27th)
Total Defense: 386.3 (29th)
Passing Defense: 254.9 (24th)
Rushing Defense: 131.4 (28th)

San Francisco 49ers:

Points Scored: 24.9 (13th)
Total Offense: 316.1 (27th)
Passing Offense: 179.1 (29th)
Rushing Offense: 137.1 (5th)

Points Allowed: 16.3 (3rd)
Total Defense: 299.1 (3rd)
Passing Defense: 199.7 (4th)
Rushing Defense: 99.4 (6th)

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