Posts Tagged ‘Aldon Smith’
After one of the most exciting divisional round weekends NFL history, the Playoffs continue this week with the conference Championship games.
The NFC Championship Game sees the top two seeds go head-to-head in Atlanta as the number 2 seed San Francisco 49ers take on the number 1 seed Falcons.
So without further ado, here are is my preview and prediction for the big game.
San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons
Keys to the Game
49ers Passing Game
- The 49ers running game is a constant threat for their opponents with a rushing attack that was the fifth best in the league this season. Led by veteran running back Frank Gore and behind a solid offensive line, the 49ers can depend on Gore and co. in the run game to be successful but it’s their passing game which is the key issue tomorrow night.
- 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was fantastic last week in their win over the Green Bay Packers with four total touchdowns and over 400 total yards. Now the pressure is on Kapernick to reproduce this week against a struggling Falcons pass defense who will certainly provide plenty of opportunities for targets like Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis.
Falcons Running Game
- Looking at the Falcons offense now and its the running game that needs to step up and produce. The Falcons were the fourth worst team running the football this year after veteran starter Michael Turner failed to pass the 1,000 barrier for the first time since the 2009 season.
- The Falcons face another difficult rush defense this week against a 49ers defense led by by their Pro Bowl pair of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman at middle linebacker. If the rushing attack fails to get going for Atlanta, this piles the pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan in the passing game and Ryan is coming off his first ever 200 yard passing performance in the Playoffs.
49ers Pass Rush
- With Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan putting on poor performances in Playoff football throughout his career (six interceptions in four fames) the last thing he needs is to be facing this ferocious 49ers pass rush. Led by All-Pro outside linebacker Aldon Smith, the Niners pass rush will look to put pressure on Ryan early and often in this one.
- If the Falcons are going to have any chance of stopping the 49ers running game, they will need the help of their linebackers to combat the Niners running duo of Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore. Look for linebacker Sean Waetherspoon to be given the role of playing quarterback spy on obvious passing downs to prevent Kaepernick from taking off and running.
So that’s my breakdown of the game.
Feel free to have your say in the comment section below and for more Playoff updates, follow me on Twitter.
After a typically dramatic wildcard weekend, the Playoffs continue this week with the divisional games just around the corner.
The first of two NFC divisional games takes place on Saturday night as the Green Bay Packers travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers.
The second game is on Sunday in Atlanta as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks tackle Matt Ryan and the Falcons at the Georgia Dome.
Now without further ado, here are my previews and predictions for the games.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
Keys to the Game
When the Packers have the ball…
Aaron Rodgers vs 49ers Pass Rush
- The 49ers boast one of the toughest defenses in the NFL led by star linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVarro Bowman. However, it’s one of the Niners other starting linebackers that will provide the biggest test for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and that is pass rusher Aldon Smith.
- Smith had an outstanding 19.5 sacks in the regular season and is one of the most feared pass rushers in the league coming off the edge. Rodgers will be under pressure from Smith and the rest of the 49ers pass rush throughout the game and faces his biggest test of the year on the road in San Francisco.
When the 49ers have the ball…
Frank Gore and 49ers Running Game vs Packers Run Defense
- Whilst the 49ers passing attack has been inconsistent this season, their running game has remained one of the best units in the league led by starting running back Frank Gore. Gore rushed for over 1,000 yards again this campaign and he is also helped out by backups Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James along with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
- The Packers defense is still a work-in-progress vs the run and rank as the 17th best team in the league. How Clay matthews and co. handle Frank Gore and the 49ers running game will be key to the outcome of this one.
The Packers are coming off an impressive wildcard victory against their division rivals Minnesota Vikings and this will be a huge game in particular for their quarterback Aaron Rodgers against the team that passed on him in the 2005 Draft.
The 49ers are coming off a first-round bye and have the added pressure of having Colin Kaepernick as their starting quarterback with Kaepernick starting his first ever Playoff game.
In this contrast of quarterbacks between Packers starter Aaron Rodgers and 49ers backup Alex Smith, I think Rodgers proves yet again that the 49ers made the wrong decision.
Packers 28 49ers 19
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Keys to the Game
When the Seahawks have the ball…
Marshawn Lynch and Seahawks Running Game vs Falcons Run Defense
- Just like the 49ers in their game, the Seahawks offense will likely lean on their rushing attack led by their Pro Bowler Marshawn Lynch. Lynch rushed for a career-high 1,590 yards this season en route to helping the Seahawks to the league’s third best ground game averaging over 160 yards per game.
- The Falcons defense ranks in the mid-twenties in terms of NFL rankings for both passing and rushing yards allowed per game but surprisingly, they only allow 18 points per game which is the fifth best in the league. Their run defense will set out to put the pressure on Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in this one by shutting down Marshan Lynch and their running game.
When the Falcons have the ball…
Falcons Wide Receivers vs Seahawks Secondary
- This is a key matchup in this game with two of the league’s best units going head-to-head with the Falcons wide receivers vs the Seahawks secondary. Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez will also be a target for quarterback Matt Ryan in the passing game.
- Falcons wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones both had over 1,000 receiving yards this season with Jones in particluar emerging as a reliable weapon for the Falcons offense. The Pro Bowler will likely be covered by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman with Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas also being a key player for the Seahawks secondary.
The Seahawks pulled off an upset last week in a win over RG3 and the Redskins on the road in Washington and they face another tough test this week on the road in Atlanta.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons may have lost their last regular season game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the number one seed appear to be favorites at home in this one.
I picked the Seahawks to lose last week and I’m doing the same again this time around.
Seahawks 17 Falcons 20
So those are your previews and predictions.
For more Playoff updates, follow me on Twitter.
After some great games yesterday, Week 11 comes to a close tonight with an exciting NFC clash between the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers.
The game will be live on ESPN in America and on the BBC Red Button in Ireland.
Now without further ado, here is a full preview of Monday Night Football Week 11.
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers
Stadium– Candlestick Park
Kick Off- 5:30 p.m. in San Francisco/1:30 a.m. in Ireland
What to Watch
- Consussions apear to have become a common problem in the modern game and that is the case for both of these teams at the quarterback position. With both Jay Cutler and Alex Smith doubtful for the game, both teams will be relying on their backup quarterbacks.
- The Bears will be counting on veteran Jason Campbell whilst the 49ers will look to second-year player Colin Kaepernick. It will be interesting to see how these two perform tonight.
- For fans of old skool defensive football, this will certainly be a must see game. With both defenses ranked in the top 10 in the league, expect to see a low scoring physical game tonight.
- With so many standout players on both sides to choose from- Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, Biran Ulracher and Julius Peppers just to name a few, points should come at a premium tonight. For a backup quarterback, things don’t come much tougher than this.
Who to Watch
Brandon Marshall- Wide Receiver- Bears
- Brandon Marshall will need to be at his best for the Bears offense tonight in the absence of Jay Cutler.
- Projected Stats: 8 Catches for 69 Yards and 1 Touchdown
Julius Peppers- Defensive End- Bears
- Peppers will be a key player for the Bears defense as they look to contain the elusive Colin Kaepernick.
- Projected Stats: 4 Tackles with 2 Sacks and 1 Forced Fumble
Frank Gore- Running Back- 49ers
- He will be tasked with leading the 49ers offense once again and will surely see 20+ carries.
- Projected Stats: 22 Carries for 110 Yards and 1 Touchdown
Aldon Smith- Outside Linebacker- 49ers
- #99 will set out to dominate as he goes in search of reaching double digit sacks for the year.
- Projected Stats: 8 Tackles with 1 Sack
This game should be a low scoring battle as both teams face injury concerns at the quarterback position and so will look to lean on their respective defenses.
After their surprising tie against the St.Louis Rams last week, I think the 49ers will bounce back this week and get the win vs the Bears.
Bears 10 49ers 20
So that’s your preview and prediction, hope everyone enjoys the game.