NFL Playoffs Capsule: 49ers at Falcons

NFL Playoffs Capsule: 49ers at Falcons

SAN FRANCISCO (12-4-1) at ATLANTA (14-3)

Sunday, 3 p.m., Fox

OPENING LINE - 49ers by 3

RECORD VS. SPREAD - San Francisco 10-7; Atlanta 9-7-1

SERIES RECORD - 49ers lead 44-29-1

AP PRO32 RANKING - 49ers No. 3; Falcons No. 4

LAST MEETING - Falcons beat 49ers 16-14 on Oct. 3, 2010.

LAST WEEK - 49ers beat Packers 45-31; Falcons beat Seahawks 30-28





STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Falcons have won last four games in series since 49ers took two OT wins in 2001. ... Teams meeting in playoffs for second time. Super Bowl-bound Falcons beat 49ers 20-18 on Jan. 9, 1999 in divisional playoffs as Jamal Anderson rushed for 113 yards and two TDs. Falcons defense had 3 INTs, including two by S William White. ... 49ers have won NFL-best 16 division titles since 1980. ... Jim Harbaugh is only eighth coach since 1970 to win division titles in each of first two seasons. ... In divisional playoffs win over Packers last week, 49ers set franchise postseason records with 579 total net yards and 323 yards rushing. ... QB Colin Kaepernick has passed for 12 TD with four INTs and rushed for four TDs while posting 6-2 record as starter. In first career playoff start last week, Kaepernick had 263 yards passing with two TDs. He set NFL record for QB in any game with 181 yards rushing with two TDs. Otto Graham (twice) and Jay Cutler only other QBs with at least two passing TDs and two rushing TDs in postseason game. ... RB Frank Gore had 1,213 yards rushing for team-record sixth season with at least 1,000 yards rushing. ... Gore had 119 yards rushing with TD last week. ... WR Michael Crabtree had nine catches for 119 yards, two TDs against Packers last week. ... TE Vernon Davis has 11 catches for 336 yards and four TDs in three career playoff games. ... WR Randy Moss has 10 TD catches in postseason, tied for third in NFL history. Moss needs two TD catches to tie John Stallworth (12) for second place. ... Moss has 24 catches for 331 yards, two TDs, in last three games against Falcons. ... LB Aldon Smith's 33 1/2 sacks are high total for player in first two seasons. Smith led NFC with team-record 19 1/2 sacks this season. ... Falcons set NFL records for 16-game schedule with 55 penalties for 415 yards. Giants had second-fewest penalties with 72 this season. Falcons one of two teams to rank among top seven in NFL in scoring offense (26.2) and scoring defense (16.7). Denver was other team. ... Atlanta hosting first NFC championship game. Falcons played on road splitting NFC championship games in 1998 and 2004 seasons. ... Falcons' win over Seattle was team's first playoff win in five seasons with coach Mike Smith and QB Matt Ryan. ... Ryan's 56 regular-season wins are most by starting quarterback in first five seasons. ... Including playoffs, Ryan 34-6 at Georgia Dome. .... WR Roddy White (1,351) and WR Julio Jones (1,198) are first Atlanta duo to each top 1,000 yards receiving since 1998. White reached 1,000 yards receiving for team-record sixth consecutive season. Including playoffs, White has NFC-leading 590 catches since 2007. ... White had 47-yard TD catch last week. ... Jones closed win over Seattle with INT to become first player since Keyshawn Johnson on Jan. 10, 1999 with at least five catches and INT in postseason game. ... TE Tony Gonzalez, named to 13th Pro Bowl this season, earned first postseason win last week. ... DE John Abraham led Falcons with 10 sacks, giving him 126 for career, most for any active NFL player. ... CB Asante Samuel has seven career postseason INTs, second-most for active player. Samuel holds NFL postseason record with four career TD returns on INTs. ... Thomas DeCoud (6) and William Moore were only NFL duo at safety to each have at least four INTs.


Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Road ahead suggests a wild finish in Eastern Conference playoff race

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Road ahead suggests a wild finish in Eastern Conference playoff race

The Eastern Conference standings are so closely bunched as of today that the third-place Cleveland Cavaliers are only 1 1/2 games ahead of the sixth-place Philadelphia 76ers. With roughly a dozen games remaining for each NBA team, much can and likely will change over the next several weeks.

That is common for this time of the year, but a closer look suggests we could be in for some chaos in the final stretch. There are lopsided remaining schedules and impending personnel changes which could all contribute to one of the wildest regular season finishes in recent memory.

The Wizards are smack dab in the middle of the East playoff race and have their own circumstances to navigate. Let's take a team-by-team look at the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, knowing the top two seeds are all but locked up by the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics...


3. Cleveland Cavaliers (41-29, 12 games left)

Monday was a crazy day for the Cavaliers. First, they announced their head coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence to deal with an undiagnosed health issue. He will be replaced by associate head coach Larry Drew in the interim as he hopes to heal up before the playoffs.

Then, news broke they were getting Kevin Love back from a broken wrist after missing 21 games. Love returned to put up 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks in a big win over the Milwaukee Bucks. 

The Cavaliers will be without their coach for an undefined period of time, but now have their second-best player back on the court. That makes their final part of the season extra fascinating.

The Cavs are the team to watch of this group. Even though this season has been filled with turmoil, they still have LeBron James. He and Love have helped form the core of the last three Eastern Conference champion teams. If they pick things up, it's not crazy to consider them among the favorites to get out of the East again.


4. Indiana Pacers (41-30, 11 games left)

The Pacers are mostly healthy as they only feature a slew of minor injuries to big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. But Indiana's remaining schedule is unusually tough and it could make the difference in where they end up.

With only 11 games remaining, the Pacers still have to play the first-place Toronto Raptors once and the Golden State Warriors twice. Six of their last eight games will be on the road. They also see the Heat, Pelicans, Nuggets and Clippers.

The Clippers are currently ninth in the West and battling to make the playoffs. The Pacers will play them twice.

Keep in mind the Wizards own the season series over Indiana and will have a playoff seeding tiebreaker if they end up with the same record. Also worth noting is the Pacers have been much better at home (24-13) than on the road (17-17) this season.


5. Washington Wizards (40-30, 12 games left)

Though the Wizards' schedule is finally letting up soon from the 13 straight playoff teams stretch they have had to endure dating back to February, they too have a tough road ahead. The Wizards still have to play the Spurs (twice), Rockets, Cavaliers, Celtics and Nuggets. Four of their last six games are on the road and they have three back-to-back sets in their final seven games.

That's brutal. They may not have to see the defending champions twice like Indiana does, but the Wizards don't exactly have it easy.

The Wizards will, however, get John Wall back at some point. The five-time All-Star is slowly but surely working his way back and could participate in a full practice by the end of the week. Ideally they will get some games under his belt before the playoffs, but any time an All-NBA player is coming back to your team it's a good thing.

The problem is that there is little room for error in the standings and head coach Scott Brooks will have to reinsert Wall into the lineup during a tough schedule and while Wall is on a minutes restriction. It will be a tricky task to balance his lineups. 


6. Philadelphia 76ers (39-30, 13 games left)

The Sixers may have the most ideal road ahead of these four teams, at least in terms of their schedule. They still have the Timberwolves, Nuggets, Cavs and Bucks. But none of those teams are the juggernauts that Golden State, Houston and Toronto are. And of their final 13 games, the Sixers will play nine against teams outside of the playoff picture.

Philly also does not have to reincorporate a major piece into their rotation, like the Cavs do with Love and the Wizards with Wall. Their biggest injury is to Markelle Fultz, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick. If he does return this season, it will likely be in a minimal role, at least to start.

What could work against the Sixers is their inexperience and recent struggles against good teams. The Sixers are relying on very young players who have never been here before to carry the way. And since Valentine's Day, Philly has just one win against a team above the .500 mark, when they beat the Cavs on March 1. During those 14 games since Feb. 14, they have beaten up on the bad teams but lost to the Wizards, Bucks, Pacers and Heat (twice), basically all the teams surrounding them in the standings. 

Philly also lost their season series against the Cavs and Pacers, tied with the Wizards and are down 2-1 against the Bucks with one game to go. They may go to the finish line without a playoff tiebreaker against all the teams they would want one against.

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

It looks like Ryant Grant has found his new home, again.

After a failed physical with the Ravens, James Jones of NFL Network reports Grant plans to sign with the Colts.


Grant originally agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens, before the team pulled the offer citing an ankle injury that dated to the Redskins' final regular-season game, according to reports.

Baltimore eventually signed Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal, while Grant had visits with the Colts and Raiders.

His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, says Grant has been working out, running routes, and his ankle had been cleared by Dr. Robert Anderson in a second opinion.

In 2017 with the Redskins, he appeared in all 16 games, with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns.