The Atlanta Falcons have not had the season they expected in 2013 and when they visit the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night football on ESPN in Week 16 they have the chance to play spoiler in the NFC despite being out of the playoffs when the two teams meet at the Candlestick Park in a game that starts up live at 8:30 pm and streams on the WatchESPN website.
The 49ers have some wildly varied playoff scenarios on Monday and a win would put the team in great position to get into the postseason. The team is battling with the New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers for two spots in the playoffs and there is a chance the team could win 10 games and then miss the playoffs, as they still have a huge game against the Cardinals coming up next week that could factor in as well. The Falcons come in after defeating the Redskins by one point last week and they are out of the playoff hunt after being the number one seed in the NFC last season.
The Falcons can play spoiler two weeks in a row, as they play against the 49ers on Monday night and then against the Carolina Panthers in Week 17 and while that won't knock the Panthers out, that game has big implications about positioning and seeding. The Panthers can win the division with a victory against the Falcons after defeating the Saints and that would be huge for the team after making the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
The Falcons have been terrible all season and now they have the chance to end things on a high note and this is the last game at Candlestick Park ever, as the 49ers are opening a new stadium next year and now the Falcons and the Niners will close things out. The Falcons started the season 1-4 and also had a five game losing streak after that and now the team, is just 4-10, although they have won two of the last three games heading into Monday night football.
The Jets and Falcons played on Monday night this season, with New York pulling out the win at the last second and now the team closes out the ESPN schedule for the season. The 49ers have been playing very well as of late and they have won four games in a row and this season they have been a streaky team, putting together two two-game losing streaks and around that is a five game and a four game winning streak and now the team is in position to put themselves into the playoffs if they can win out on the schedule.
The team finishes with a home game against Atlanta before playing the much improved Cardinals and that game is huge for the NFC playoffs after the Cardinals won on Sunday, as the Seahawks have not even been able to lock up the top seed or the division yet. The NFC is getting very interesting and the NFC North, South and East will not be decided until the weekend and the West division can become clearer tonight. The 49ers come into the game ranked fourth and fifth in passing and rushing yards allowed per game and they will try and rush the ball against the Falcons, as their defense is weak in that area and this is a huge game for the playoffs in 2013, even though the Falcons expected they would be in the mix.