The 11-2 49ers host the 4-9 Falcons on Sunday, in what will be the only “easy” game among San Francisco’s final six of the season.
And it’s those “easy” games that can be a trap. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan knows it.
“You want to address it, but it’s been very easy for me,” Shanahan told reporters on Friday. “The way these guys have looked on tape these last five weeks, how hard they’ve played, the coaches that they have, the players that they have, and then when you turn on the tape and watch how hard they’ve been going, it hasn’t been hard at all for me to tell the guys. As soon as they saw the tape they could see that.
“These guys have won three out of their last five games. They beat a very good team in New Orleans. It wasn’t a close game, they beat them with ease. Beat Carolina last week by a lot. It’s not just luck. You turn on the tape and you can see why. Everyone knows the names that they have over there, the team is playing at a very high level right now.”
The 49ers have provided no reason to think that they won’t be able to pivot to preparing for playing a team like the Falcons after running the Packers-Ravens-Saints gauntlet and before ending the season with games against the Rams and Seahawks. Besides, to the extent that Shanahan needs a little extra motivation, he’s surely aware of the flak he took from the Falcons for the playcalling at the end of the 28-3 Super Bowl LI debacle.
So the 49ers, who still have everything they’ve been playing for in front of them as the postseason appoaches, should be fine for the one late-season game that won’t be one of their toughest games of the year.