By most predictions, the San Francisco 49ers will easily handle the visiting Atlanta Falcons in Week 15. But in what looks to be a trap game, the Niners have to have concerns.
In 2016, the San Francisco 49ers were one of the laughingstocks of the NFL, while the Atlanta Falcons were almost unstoppable. Now in 2019, the roles have almost entirely reversed, as it’s the Niners who look to be unstoppable, while the Falcons are eyeing both a spoiler role and a top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
There are some carryovers between the two squads, though: head coaches Kyle Shanahan and Dan Quinn.
Shanahan, of course, served as Quinn’s offensive coordinator in Atlanta between 2015 and 2016, helping carry the Falcons all the way to the Super Bowl that final season before taking over the 49ers in 2017.
Now, the two will square off for the first time since Shanahan left Atlanta.
On paper, all signs point to this contest being one of particular ease for Shanahan and Co. The 49ers boast the league’s No. 2 scoring offense, while the Falcons boast the seventh worst scoring defense entering Week 15. According to the Action Network, San Francisco is sitting pretty as 11-point favorites.
The game has all the makings of a blowout, right?
Not so fast. If anything, Week 15 between the 49ers and Falcons could easily be a trap game, one which sees the “playing for nothing but pride” Falcons trying to upend San Francisco’s shot in what’s turning into a hotly contested NFC playoff picture.
That’s one reason why the Niners need be concerned with Atlanta in this particular matchup, and here are three others.