The San Francisco 49ers head to Mercedes-Benz Stadium this week to face the Atlanta Falcons for the second game of a back-to-back NFC South trip. The 49ers have won four of the last five matchups against the Falcons and will look to record another victory against Atlanta in Week 6.
For this week's Four Downs, 49ers team reporter Lindsey Pallares and 49ers Spanish insider Jesús Zárate have joined me to break down several storylines ahead of the team's Week 6 matchup against the Falcons. We also answer questions directly from the Faithful exclusive for the 49ers Supporters Club. To get your questions answered, sign up for the 49ers Supporters Club here.
1st Down: Which Position Group Will Need to Step Up in Week 6?
@LindseyLares: Defensive line
The defensive line is going to need contributions from all its healthy players, especially if Nick Bosa ends up being sidelined with his current groin strain against the Falcons. While he may not be the only injury in this group, his presence means a lot to the 49ers defensive front. Bosa is in a four-way tie for the most sacks in the NFL and has racked up 11 quarterback hits and 31 pressures through the first five weeks of the season. Additionally, Samson Ebukam is working through an Achilles injury, Arik Armstead has separate foot and ankle injuries and Javon Kinlaw is dealing with a knee flare up.
After the recent injuries, especially Emmanuel Moseley being out the rest of the season, the cornerbacks need to step up in Week 6. Guys like Ambry Thomas, if he gets the chance to play, need to take advantage of their playing time.
The 49ers linebackers will be tasked with a run-heavy Falcons offense on Sunday. LB duo Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw have performed well so far this season, together recording a total of 20 tackles. They'll not only have to keep their eyes on Atlanta's leading rusher, Tyler Allgeier, but also quarterback Marcus Mariota, as he's picked up 156 total yards in the run game this season.
2nd Down: Who Are You Most Looking Forward to See Play Against the Falcons?
After seeing his performance against the Panthers, it's hard not to be excited about Coleman. His first outing for the 49ers was certainly a productive one with the veteran running back reaching the end zone on the ground and through the air. His receiving touchdown came on his first snap of game action, so that's definitely one way to set the bar high for expectations moving forward. Given the fact that the running back room was hit with the injury bug early in the season, it's good to see that the "next man up" for the 49ers is keeping the ground game alive and well.
@JesusZarate87: RBs Coleman and Jeff Wilson Jr.
I'm very excited to watch Wilson Jr. and Coleman against the Falcons. They were a nice duo vs. the Panthers, combining the great running ability of Wilson Jr. and Coleman's skills catching the football out of the backfield. Wilson Jr. carried the ball 17 times for 120 yards and a touchdown. Coleman registered three receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown, and also had one rushing touchdown. I'm expecting these two players to continue to be a problem for opposing defenses. If they are able to be consistent, that's great news for the 49ers while they get back injured players like Elijah Mitchell.
Givens has notched 1.0 sack and two tackles for loss so far this season, and I think he'll have a good chance to record at least one more sack in Week 6. The Falcons offensive line has allowed 12.0 sacks so far this season and Atlanta's starting left guard Elijah Wilkinson is questionable to play in Sunday's contest after not practicing this week due to a knee injury.
3rd Down: Key to Success vs. Atlanta
@LindseyLares: Playing clean football
The key to success against the Falcons will be playing clean and consistent football and to establish the run game early. The 49ers are the better team in almost every statistical category, so the most important thing is to not allow penalties that allow the Falcons to make it a game. Also, Atlanta's defense did well against the run in Week 5, allowing just 3.0 yards a carry, so if San Francisco can block well and get their runners going early, that will play a big role in making sure the team is successful against the Falcons.
@JesusZarate87: Flexing their depth
The number one key to success against Atlanta will be the 49ers depth in different positions. With all the injuries the team has suffered, it will be very important for guys in the defensive line to keep up the good work, same deal with the offensive line and now also the secondary with Moseley and Jimmie Ward injured. Backup players need to keep showing their starting caliber potential on every snap they get.
@BriMcDonaldTV: Strong offensive line
San Francisco will have tough matchups across the offensive line. Second-year lineman Aaron Banks will be tasked with slowing down Grady Jarrett – Atlanta's defensive lineman who's tallied 3.5 sacks and seven quarterback hits through five games. Jaylon Moore will have his hands full with Falcons second-round draft pick Arnold Ebiketie who's looking to record more sacks to this name after recording his first in Week 1. If the 49ers can keep the pressure off of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, they are much more likely to find success against the Falcons.
4th Down: What is Your Bold Prediction for the Week 6 Matchup Against the Falcons?
@LindseyLares: The offense will put up another 30-point game against the Falcons.
@JesusZarate87: The offensive line has been missing a big-time player like Trent Williams and even his backup in Colton McKivitz due to injuries, but Moore did a good job at the left tackle position along with the rest of the offensive line in Week 5. So my bold prediction for Week 6 is that the 49ers will not allow a sack.
@BriMcDonaldTV: Wide receiver Jauan Jennings will lead the team in receiving yards.