With a win on the road, Atlanta can take a huge step towards realizing their playoff hopes.
For the first time since 2017, the Falcons are relevant in December. At 6-7, they still have a path to making the playoffs, even if they don’t always look like a playoff team. They can take a major step forward with a win in San Francisco on Sunday. Here’s where both teams stand going into this NFC matchup.
The Falcons have a mixed bag on the injury front. We already knew that safety Erik Harris would be out for the rest of the season with a pectoral injury. While he didn’t practice for most of the week, LB Dante Fowler did practice in a limited capacity on Friday and is officially listed as questionable for the game on Sunday with a calf injury. However, it does look like the team will be getting both DB Richie Grant (ankle) and LB Adetokunbo Ogundeji (ankle) back for the game on Sunday after they both missed the Panthers game in week 14.
The 49ers, on the other hand, may be missing several key players on Sunday. They have three players already ruled out. Running back Elijah Mitchell – their leading rusher by a long shot – is out with a concussion and knee injury. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw (groin) and defensive lineman Maurice Hurst (calf) are also both out. They also have 3 players listed as questionable going into Sunday. Starting safety Jaquiski Tartt (glute), CB Ambry Thomas (concussion) and starter DL D.J. Jones (knee) are all a toss-up to play. Finally, starting linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (elbow) is listed as doubtful. Right now, it looks like starting linebacker Fred Warner (ankle) and tight end George Kittle (knee) will play, even though both were limited participants on Friday.
At 6-7, the Falcons have no shot of winning the NFC South but they are currently in 2nd place in the division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 10-3 and will win the division with a win over the New Orleans Saints (6-7) on Sunday. The Carolina Panthers sit at 5-8 and at the bottom of the division for now.
The 7-6 San Francisco 49ers are third in the NFC West behind the 10-3 Arizona Cardinals and the 9-4 Los Angeles Rams. The Seattle Seahawks – like the Panthers – are 5-8 and at the bottom of the division.