The San Francisco 49ers are going to be the biggest Atlanta Falcons fans this weekend. A win by the Falcons over the New Orleans Saints this Monday guarantees the 49ers the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs, giving them a first round bye.
That’s the best case scenario for the 49ers after the recent swarm of injuries that have surfaced.
The team is already without Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, who has missed the last three games with a right hamstring injury. Receiver and return specialist Ted Ginn missed Saturday’s game with an ankle injury.
But the biggest news comes from the action on the field. Tight end Delanie Walker was inadvertently kneed to the head early in the game and was carted off with a jaw injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, he might be sidelined for the playoffs.
However, he might be able to come back sooner. In 2008, wide receiver Anquan Boldin (then with Arizona) suffered a jaw injury and only missed two games. But of course, that also required seven plates and 40 screws from surgery. We will have to wait and see what Walker’s diagnosis is.
Also, receiver Kyle Williams appeared to have suffered a concussion after being hit on the head after surrendering himself on a kick return. Williams did tweet that he was doing better.
@KyleWilliams_10: Merry Christmas to you and yours.. Feelin better this morning thank u again for prayers and concerns
The best scenario for the 49ers is to rest up as many players as possible. It is likely that Walker and Williams won’t be available for the season finale, which puts the team in a very tough situation. The tight end position would have Justin Peelle move up to Walker’s spot and the team might need to find a third tight end. Konrad Reuland might get a promotion from the practice squad.
The same thing can be said for the wide receivers. With Williams and Ginn likely out for the next game, the team has only Michael Crabtree, a recovering Braylon Edwards and Brett Swain as their receivers. Look to see a potential promotion for practice squad receivers John Matthews or Joe Hastings.
But if the Falcons do win their game on Monday, the 49ers know they can rest their starters for their finale. That would be ideal for the banged up group. But if the Saints win, the 49ers have to bring out the heavy artillery to get that final win for the #2 seed.
The 49ers want to avoid any other injuries in the last game and they are hoping that it doesn’t have to come to that.