49ers_v_falconsThe 49ers vs. Falcons history is long, with the Falcons being old foes from the NFC West before the NFL decided that its devisions should have some semblance of geographic sense. Since the re-alignment the 49ers haven’t faced the Falcons too often and with that some of the old dislike between the two teams has gone out of the rivalry.

Luckily the stakes of playing for the chance of going to the Super Bowl will help to get everyone fired up this week.

As a part of the continuing coverage of the 49ers vs. Falcons NFC Championship matchup, today we’ll look at the statistical tale of the tape between the two teams.

Historical Matchups:

  • Regular Season head to head matchups: 49ers 44 win, Falcons 29 wins with 1 tie. 49ers lead all time scoring between teams 1770 to 1277.
  • Playoff head to head matchups: Falcons 1 wins, 49ers 0 win. In the one matchup the Falcons won 20 to 18.
  • Regular season matchups in Atlants: 49ers 18 wins, Falcons 17 wins, 1 tie. 49ers lead all-time scoring between teams 885 to 742.

Traditional Stats:

49ers (NFL rank) Falcons (NFL rank)
11-4-1 (5th) Record 13-3 (1st-t)
397 (11th) Points For 419 (7th)
273 (2nd Points Against 299 (5th)
362 (11th) Total Offense 369 (8th)
206 (23rd) Passing Offense 282 (6th)
23 (16th) Passing TDs 32 (5th)
156 (4th) Rushing Offense 87 (29th)
17 (6th) Rushing TDs 12 (13th-t)
294 (3rd) Total Defense 366 (24th)
200 (4th) Passing Defense 242 (23rd)
94 (4th) Rushing Defense 123 (21st)
19 (9th) Passing TDs Allowed 14 (1st)
7 (4th) Rushing TDs Allowed 16 (24th-t)
69% (31st) Field Goal % 87% (14th)
48.1 (3rd) Yards per Punt 45.9 (17th)
10.5 (10th) Punt Return Avg 7.9 (25th)
24.8 (11th) Kick Return Avg 23.7 (14th)
9 (6th) Turnover Differential 13 (4th-t)

The traditional stats show that the Falcons have a slight edge on offense, while the 49ers have the edge on defense. On special teams, the teams are fairly equal with the only deviation being the 49ers advantage in punting due to Andy Lee.

Advanced Stats:

49ers (NFL rank) Falcons (NFL rank)
29.9% (4th) Total DVOA 9.1% (10th)
17% (5th) Offensive DOVA 6.1% (12th)
33.2% (5th) Passing DOVA 23.6 (10th)
12.6% (3rd) Rushing DOVA -17.1% (29th)
208.9 (1st) Total Offense PFF Rating 132.3 (6th)
41.8 (9th) Total Pass PFF Rating 97.4 (2nd)
16.3 (6th) Total Rush PFF Rating -0.4 (22nd)
21.8 (10th) Total Pass Block PFF Rating 21.5 (14th)
126.2 (1st) Total Run Block PFF Rating -4.7 (25th)
-14.3% (3rd) Defensive DOVA -2.9% (12th)
-10.3 (6th) Pass D DOVA -2.4% (11th)
-19.7 (2nd) Rush D DOVA -3.6% (20th)
99.6 (3rd) Total Defense PFF Rating 2.8 (17th)
-2.8 (19th) Total Pass Rush PFF Rating 4.3 (13th)
35.6 (5th) Total Pass Coverage PFF Rating -1.3 (18th)
72.8 (1st) Total Run D PFF Rating -15.3 (24th)
-1.5% (20th) Special Teams DOVA -0.9% (19th)
43.4 (11th) Special Teams PFF Ranking 54.4 (6th)

The DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) statistics are from Football Outsiders, it is a stat that breaks down every single NFL play and compares a team’s performance to a league baseline based on situation in order to determine value over average. For more information you can go here.

The PFF Ratings are from Pro Football Focus and represent the cumulative grade for each team for each category this season. For more information you can go here.

Conclusions:

Overall this matchup looks to favor the 49ers, they have the better defense, a passing attack nearly on par with the Falcons and a rushing offense that is far superior. The special teams looks to be roughly even, the Falcons have done better kicking field goals while the 49ers have the edge in punting and in the return game.

The one thing that isn’t measured in these stats is the home field advantage the Falcons may get from playing in the Georgia dome. The 49ers have done decently on the road but they did have struggles in loud locations getting plays in and making changes at the line of scrimmage. That could be an issue in this game and makes it all the more important to get out to an early lead.

I’m feeling a bit nervous about the game, but at least on paper the 49ers should be the better team going into the game.