Friday, January 18, 2013
Sando's best guess: Week 20 prediction
By Mike Sando
The anticipated trip to Candlestick Park for the NFC Championship Game has taken a detour to Atlanta.
The Atlanta Falcons earned it with a 30-28 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round. It's now up to the San Francisco 49ers to give the NFC West a Super Bowl representative for the third time in the last eight seasons.
I think it's going to happen, but to get there, the 49ers will have to beat a Falcons team with a 34-6 home record since 2008.
Here goes with the weekly prediction:
Noted: I went 1-1 on NFC West picks last week, staking my season-long record to 37-18 (.673) when picking games involving NFC West teams. We've also got the "You called it" competition going, plus the Pigskin Pick'em group, so don't be shy with your own picks.
- San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, 3 p.m. ET: Colin Kaepernick has gone 2-2 as a road starter for the 49ers. The victories came against New England and New Orleans. The defeats were at Seattle and St. Louis. Kaepernick had six touchdown passes, two rushing touchdowns, three picks, five sacks and the NFL's fourth-best Total QBR (79.6) for qualifying road starters. Crowd noise has given him problems at times. That is a concern for the 49ers as they try to run their offense efficiently. San Francisco has the better offensive and defensive lines, the better running backs and the better secondary, in my view. Both team's quarterbacks and tight ends are dangerous. The Falcons are better at receiver and kicker. Would you trust a game-winning kick to David Akers? Sando's best guess: 49ers 30, Falcons 17.