The 49ers emerged from an historically tough stretch over the three last weeks just one Justin Tucker field goal away from completing it with a perfect 3-0 record. All three games came against teams currently ranked among the top three seeds in their respective conferences, and the last two came on the road in extremely tough environments.
You could say they passed their biggest test of the season with flying colors. Luckily for San Francisco, the degree of difficulty should decrease moving forward. After defeating the Saints in a thrilling 48-46 victory Sunday, the 49ers return home to face the visiting Atlanta Falcons in Week 15.
The Falcons, currently last place in the NFC South, earned their fourth win of the season by doubling up the Panthers on Sunday, but will enter their Week 15 game at Levi's Stadium as significant underdogs, and rightfully so.
#49ers open as 11.5 point favorites next week against the Falcons at Levi's Stadium.
— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) December 9, 2019
11.5 points is quite a large spread, but given how both teams have performed so far this season, it seems about right. The 49ers are two last-second field goals away from being undefeated, and the Falcons lost seven of their first eight games. And while San Francisco incurred injuries to some key players in the win over the Saints, the same thing happened to Atlanta in the victory over Carolina. Cornerback Marcus Trufant reportedly broke his forearm, and wide receiver Calvin Ridley left with an abdominal injury and did not return.
Both of those would be big losses for Atlanta. However, it's worth mentioning the Falcons have been playing better football as of late, going 3-2 over their last five games, including a road win in New Orleans. The 49ers would be unwise to take them lightly for fear of undoing some of what they just achieved.
With a win over Atlanta in Week 15, San Francisco would clinch its first playoff berth since 2013.
NFL odds: 49ers open as 11.5-point favorites over Falcons in Week 15 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area