Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Ryan and the Falcons have finally developed some postseason trust, and the Georgia Dome is one of those places that can be a real and measurable home-field advantage.
But there's one set of stats that shifts the balance of the NFC title game San Francisco's way.
In two games against Carolina Panthers dual-threat quarterback Cam Newton, Atlanta allowed 704 yards of total offense (202 rushing), six touchdowns and zero interceptions. Last week, Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson accumulated 445 total yards (60 rushing), three touchdowns and just one turnover in Atlanta.
The Falcons have had their shots at stopping athletic quarterbacks this season. Those efforts have mostly failed miserably. Newton and Wilson combined for 1,149 yards and nine touchdowns in three games.
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who possesses a skill set that may exceed both Newton and Wilson, is coming to Atlanta Sunday with the confidence that only a performance in his first playoff start can produce.
Expecting the Falcons to suddenly get the holes figured out on defense—while prepping for Kaepernick and his Pistol formation—is too much to ask.
Pick: 49ers 31, Falcons 24