January 18, 2013
Reasons Why I'm Worried About the Niners
The Betting Line: I know I should have more confidence in Vegas. Bookies know more about sports than the people who participate in them. Still though I'm worried the Niners are a +3 favorite on the road against this season's best team. Being favored always leads to my next reason to worry.
Hawks Motivation: One of my big knocks on sabermetric writers is that they take for granted the psychological aspect of the game. In a perfect world, yeah everything would play out just like the numbers. One problem though is that you're dealing with real humans and not a lab experiment. Motivation is something that can't be computed and that's why the betting line scares me. The Hawks can play the "us against the world" angle. Now does that work for the entire game or portion of the game? I'm not sure but everyone needs a little motivation and that betting line is motivation enough for the Hawks.
Momentum Won't Be A Factor: As Bill Barnwell stated this morning momentum won't be a factor. As he stated and I watched all year the Niners would crush teams (Bills, Jets, Bears, Packers) and then lose big (Seahawks, Giants). The Niners beating the Packers last week and the "momentum" from that victory won't matter here. Ditto for the Falcons after their sneaky victory over the Seahawks.
The Start Time: I thought this would be a factor and then I realized the game starts at 12 PT and not 10 PT. This shouldn't be a factor but I thought it stupidly would be.
The Falcons Receivers: Let's get away from the psychological aspect of the game and focus on real players. The Falcons receivers terrify me. Julio Jones' size and speed scare me alone and then you have Roddy White. The Niners will desperately need a pass rush in this game to contain the receivers.
The Niners Red Zone Offense: The Niners offense in the red zone has always been a little frightening. And that was with Alex Smith. according to Barnwell they're actually worse in the red zone with Kaepernick. I can't even write further on the subject because of how much that scares me.
The Continue Ignorance of Vernon Davis: Since Kaepernick has become the QB the offense has almost completely ignored Vernon Davis. If you watched the Falcons last week then you'll remember they never covered Seahawks tight end Zach Miller all game. Hopefully Harbaugh picks up this red flag.
Conservatism: I love Harbaugh but he does suffer from Marty Ball Syndrome. I don't know how many times I've seen this team jump out to the lead and then they immediately start running the ball. That's how the Patriots came back from such a big deficit a few weeks ago. It worries me that the Niners will jump out to a lead and then start running the ball allowing the Falcons to get back in the game.
So there are my reasons why I'm worried about the Niners this Sunday. Here's a few quick reasons why I'm confident in the Niners.
- Matt Ryan has a tendency to throw an interception or two.
- Kaepernick running all over their defense.
- Mike Smith will do something dumb
- The 49ers won't forget Vernon Davis exists
- Aldon Smith