The San Francisco 49ers host the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. Barring a couple of major surprises, this will be the final game for the 49ers at Candlestick Park. The 49ers will move into their new, state-of-the-art, high-tech stadium for the 2014 season.
The final game at Candlestick should provide some extra motivation for the 49ers as several former greats are expected to be in attendance. The 49ers, with a record of 10-4, face the Atlanta Falcons, who at 4-10, are one of the biggest disappointments of the year.
Prior to the season beginning, this looked to be a great matchup of two teams that would be battling for a trip to the Super Bowl. The 49ers held up their end of the bargain, while the Falcons have not.
Although Atlanta has won two of its past three games, it is far too little and too late for the Falcons in 2013. This is a mismatch and the extra motivation the 49ers have will make it even more one-sided.
Colin Kaepernick has had his ups and downs this season, but he seems to be gaining confidence in recent weeks. The 49ers have won four straight games, and Kaepernick is one of the major reasons why they seem to be peaking at just the right time.
Over these past four games, Kaepernick has completed 68 of his 110 pass attempts, good for a 61.8 percent clip. He has thrown seven touchdowns and only one interception.
Kaepernick's passer rating of 105.6 in these past four games is substantially higher than his season rating of 88.8.
The return of wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham have certainly helped Kaepernick with his confidence. The presence of these two, especially Crabtree, gives Kaepernick more quality options to look for in the passing game.
The Falcons rank 25th in the league against the pass, allowing an average of 254.9 yards per game. Opponents are averaging 8.1 yards per catch against them, placing Atlanta 29th out of 32 teams in the league in that category.
The Falcons' pass defense has been quite porous. It has allowed 28 touchdowns and have only nine interceptions. A major part of the problem in Atlanta has been their lack of a pass rush. The Falcons have only 28 sacks on the year, ahead of only Jacksonville and Chicago.
Expect Kaepernick to have a big game, throwing for three touchdowns and between 250-300 yards. Kaepernick could also be a factor in the running game. Look for him to have close to 50 yards rushing on only seven or eight attempts.
Which 49ers' receiver will have the most catches against the Falcons?
This has all the makings of a blow-out. A score in the range of 37-13 is in the cards for this contest. Candlestick Park will be rocking one last time.
All stats courtesy of NFL.com.