New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers
Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers are hoping that the turf of Candlestick Park can slow down Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints high powered offense. The Saints are -3 point favorites over the 49ers with an over/under point total set at 47.
The San Francisco 49ers completed a dramatic turnaround this season and finished with an outstanding 13-3 mark and an NFC West divisional title. Jim Harbaugh is almost assured to win coach of the year after turning around a San Francisco team in such a dramatic way with a limited off season and no OTA’s. The 49ers play football “the old fashioned way” by playing stellar defense and not committing turnovers and taking advantage of the other team’s mistakes. The 49ers passing attack is ranked 29th in the NFL as Alex Smith is your prototypical “game manager” who makes key throws when needed and avoids the costly mistake. The Niners prefer to run the ball and control the clock, and San Fran has been very successful in doing so this season with the league’s 8th ranked rushing attack, behind 1,000 yard rusher Frank Gore. Defensively the Niners are stout, with the league’s best run defense and the 16th best defense in the NFL against the pass. If the 49ers are going to win, San Francisco will need to control the clock limiting Drew Brees’ snaps and play mistake free football – which with a turnover ratio of +28 this season, we know is very possible.
The New Orleans Saints defeated the Detroit Lions in the wild card round of the playoffs this past Saturday, and New Orleans looked impressive as ever doing so. The Saints offense is just simply amazing as Drew Brees is one of the more accurate quarterbacks I have ever seen. Brees threw for over 460 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions, without throwing one interception. The Saints also have a good ground game to go with their dynamic passing attack, and it will be interesting to see if the Saints are able to move the ball, and keep from being one dimensional against the NFL’s best rush defense in the 49ers. This season’s New Orleans Saints defense reminds me a lot of their defense a couple years ago when New Orleans won it all. The Saints will allow you to move the ball and put points on the board, but if New Orleans can force a turnover or two and give their offense that many more possessions, it’s over. One factor that should be noted is the turf of Candlestick. The Saints offense isn’t as effective on grass as it is in a dome with New Orleans scoring 23 in Jacksonville, 20 in Tampa, and 22 in Tennessee.
While playing on a grass field this season; the San Francisco 49ers are 9-2 overall, and 9-1 against the spread. The Saints are 3-2 overall on grass and 2-3 against the spread. The 49ers are 2-4 against the spread in their last six games, and the total has gone over in all five of the 49ers last five home games against the Saints. The total has gone over in four of the last five games for the New Orleans Saints.
This should be an incredible game to watch as you have your prototypical defense vs. offensive matchup. I am interested to see how the Saints perform on grass, but when you have Brees under center you should always feel confident about your situation, no matter what is under your feet. I think the line is just about right, and I hate going against a home dog with the better defense in the playoffs, but Brees is just that dynamic of a talent. Should be a great game, but I like the Saints to get the close cover with a late score in San Francisco.
New Orleans Saints -3 San Francisco 49ers