20* Falcons/49ers MNF GAME OF THE MONTH on Atlanta +14
Atlanta vs. San Francisco,
12/23/2013 20:40 EDT,
Score: 24 - 34
Point Spread: +14/+102 Atlanta
The Atlanta Falcons clearly have not quit on their season. They have won two of their last three games, and each of their last four games have been decided by four points or less. That includes losses to playoff contenders in New Orleans (13-17) and Green Bay (21-22) for their only two setbacks during this stretch. In fact, this team has been very competitive all season as 10 of their 14 games have been decided by eight points or fewer. Unlike last year, they simply have not gotten the breaks in close games.
Atlanta has every reason to show up Monday to try and avenge last year’s 24-28 loss to San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game. It held a 17-0 lead early in that game and should have won considering it outgained the 49ers 477-373 for the game. Matt Ryan went 30 of 42 passing for 396 yards with three touchdowns against one interception in the loss. The Falcons have won four of their last five meetings with the 49ers.
The Falcons have been the better offensive team all season. They rank a respectable 16th in total offense at 341.5 yards per game. San Francisco ranks just 27th in total offense at 316.1 yards per game. It is very tough to blow out a team when your offense struggles to move the football like the 49ers do. Matt Ryan proved he could move the ball through the air on this 49ers’ defense last year, and I look for him to have similar success this time around now that Roddy White is finally 100% healthy.
San Francisco could have nothing to play for Monday night if Arizona loses to Seattle Sunday. There's is a good chance that happens considering the Seahawks are a 10.5-point favorite. The 49ers would clinch a playoff spot with an Arizona loss, and they would not be able to catch Seattle for the division title. So, they'd essentially only be playing for a 5 or 6 seed, which makes little difference. I like the Falcons either way, but if the Cardinals lost to the Seahawks it would only be an added bonus in terms of motivation.
Plays against home favorites of 10.5 or more points (SAN FRANCISCO) – after covering the spread in 2 out of their last 3 games, a good team (60% to 75%) playing a team with a losing record are 56-24 (70%) ATS since 1983. Atlanta is 30-12 against the spread in its last 42 games after allowing 400 or more total yards in its previous game. The Falcons are 10-2 against the number in their last 12 road games after being outgained by 200 or more total yards in their previous game. The underdog is 9-4 against the spread in the last 13 meetings. Bet the Falcons Monday.