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Well, this post turned into a long brain dump. A lot of rope to hang myself with, I guess.

Way too many people are picking the Niners, even though it's so hard to win on the road in the playoffs. The last couple of times the Niners topped people's power rankings they immediately laid an egg. History could repeat!

I don't think the biggest question is how to stop Kaepernick's running. The Falcons will play much less man coverage than the Packers did. There. Done. Easy. I think the bigger question is how/if the Falcons will score when they need to. The Niners' defense under Harbaugh always hangs tough against teams that are not committed to the run. Ask QBs like Brees, Brady, and Rodgers (twice!). Ryan has tremendous receivers who will move the chains but he will need a big over-the-top play (possible!) or big turnover (less likely) because he will not have the running game he had in the first half last week... the Seahawks missed so many tackles and the Niners are tackling machines. One-dimensional Ryan worries me as much as one-dimensional Rodgers did before last game, which is to say not as much as the hype tells me to worry. The Falcons do have a chance if they pound the run with big back Turner, not Rodgers. Big backs like Lynch and Jackson have proven hardest for the Niners to tackle.

Again I will scream -- this time from my hotel room -- RUN THE BALL! All Niners' goodness on offense flows from running first and wearing down the clock and the opponent. I'll accept quite a bit less than 323 rushing yards this time. ;-)

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