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If nothing more, 49ers fans (me included) are great at overreacting but in this case, they might be right on the money. After the 49ers and Bengals went to overtime last Sunday and San Francisco pulled out a win (26-23), 84 percent of fans believe the 49ers are headed in the right direction.
It’s crazy what winning does to a fan base’s confidence. Prior to the Cincinnati win, only 59 percent felt that way when the Niners were fresh off an embarrassing loss to the Seahawks. One win after dropping a rivalry game and that jumps nearly 30 percent.
The confidence comes at a good time as the 49ers look to move to 8-6 with a home win over the Atlanta Falcons. The game is actually pretty important at this point in the season even though the Falcons have hardly impressed. The 49ers are the No. 6 seed in the NFC and the Falcons are tied with four other teams for the final wildcard spot in the conference. Simply put, both teams need and want this win.
But the Niners will have to do it without some key pieces. Rookie running back Elijah Mitchell will be out for the second straight game as he heals from a concussion and knee injury he sustained during Week 13. While he’s believed to be close to game ready, the coaching staff isn’t keen on him hitting the field just yet.
With a banged up running back core, the Niners will look to Jeff Wilson Jr. and JaMycal Hasty to get the job done on the ground against a defense that’s giving up nearly 120 yards to opponents offensively. Deebo Samuel should take on more carries with so many injuries to the backfield. The Falcons will be without LB Dante Fowler and S Erik Harris, so with a somewhat depleted defense that already wasn’t strong to begin with - the offense needs to eat.
As for the defense, standout linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is questionable as well with an elbow injury. He’s been a key factor for the 49ers — and so has D.J. Jones who is questionable with a knee injury, too.
The Falcons have one of the worst point differentials in the league at -108 so this is another opportunity for the Niners to add a win - and they should with a tight turnaround on the horizon as the Niners will hit the road to face off with the Tennessee Titans on Thursday. While the Falcons shouldn’t give SF too much of a problem, they’ve been surprisingly decent on the road winning five of seven roadies so they shouldn’t be overlooked.
The 49ers are currently favored -9.5 by our friends at DraftKings SportsBook.
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