The Falcons will host the 49ers in a Week 6 matchup. Atlanta is coming off a brutal loss to the Buccaneers that has been highly scrutinized for Jerome Boger’s phantom roughing the passer call on Grady Jarrett. In comparison, San Francisco is coming off a thrashing of the Panthers that resulted in Carolina firing Matt Rhule. These are two teams that have some of the best rushing offenses in the league, but injuries might play an even bigger factor in this one.
The big one to watch for the Falcons is Kyle Pitts, who missed the first game of his career last week against the Bucs with a hamstring injury. He was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice and is trending toward playing on Sunday. Ade Ogundeji, listed with a should injury, was also limited.
One of the team’s unsung heroes this season, Elijah Wilkinson, was listed as a non-participant with a knee injury, which could be detrimental to the Falcons’ offensive game plan. Arthur Smith wants to run the ball, and Wilkinson, who replaced Jalen Mayfield, has been a significant factor in the unit’s ability to move the ball on the ground. Mykal Walker, the defensive signal caller, injured his groin last Sunday and was also designated as a no-participation. Both players are integral parts of the Falcons’ hopes to upset the 49ers.
Despite Atlanta dealing with a bevy of injuries, no team other than the Chargers has dealt with more significant injuries than San Fran. Their injury report is the length of a novel. Aaron Banks, Danny Gray, Tyler Kroft, and Tarvarius Moore were all limited participants in Wednesday’s practice, but the names designated as no participation are jarring.
Arik Armstead has already been ruled out for Sunday’s matchup. Nick Bosa is dealing with a groin injury, which would by far be the most significant blow to the 49ers’ chances of coming out of Atlanta victorious. Kyle Shanahan described the situation, “I know he’s got a chance to play, but I know it doesn’t feel good enough to go today [Wednesday].” Samson Ebukam is dealing with an Achilles injury. Kicker Robbie Gould is dealing with a knee injury, and Shanahan’s comments aren’t encouraging, “We signed a kicker just in case. We’ll probably test it out either tomorrow or Friday.”
Javon Kinlaw and Emmanuel Mosley are both dealing with knee injuries; the former is unlikely to play this week despite making the trip. Jimmie Ward had surgery on his broken hand and won’t play Sunday. And Trent Williams is dealing with an ankle injury, and his status is unknown.
It’s only Wednesday’s report, so there’s no need to overreact. The good news for the Falcons is Pitts practiced. The bad news is Walker and Wilkinson didn’t. And the Falcons will need Wilkinson as Atlanta faces the league’s top run defense. More good news, the Niners could be without a slew of defensive starters. A defensive line without Bosa, Kinlaw, and Armstead isn’t nearly as threatening.
As the week progresses, we’ll update you on injuries from both sides.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire