Saturday January 14th the 49ers will host the Saints in their most important game since 2002. The Saints bring a high powered offense to town, led by record setting quarterback Drew Brees. The Niners sport the leagues best defense. Can Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and the 49ers dominate D contain Brees and Saints high powered offense?
YES THEY WILL! How and Why after the jump
How the 49ers will win: The 49ers have been preparing for the Saints ever since their week 17 win against the Rams. Throw out the exhibition opener, this time, Harbaugh’s bunch is ready. On offense look for the 49ers to employ a run heavy, quick pass offense to combat the Saints blitz heavy defense. I expect the 49ers to run right at the blitz and expose it putting the Saints on their heels. The Saints typically start slow in the first quarter. The 49ers need to keep the Saints offense off the field by controlling the time of possession. Look for the 49ers to be extremely patient in the first half. The dink and dump game, protecting Alex Smith and the football will open up some shots down field in the second half.
Defensively look for the 49ers to do what they have done all season long. Vic Fangio rarely rushes more than 4, relying on the defensive line to pressure the QB allowing the linebackers to make plays with their athleticism and help out the defensive backfield in coverage. One adjustment I anticipate is seeing Aldon Smith in the game more than Parys Haralson. The Saints are a pass happy team and Smith typically plays on passing downs. New Orleans biggest weakness is their offensive line. Justin Smith should have no problem taking up 2 blockers all day long, allowing Aldon or ILBs Willis or Navarro Bowman to create pressure up the gap.
Difference in the game: As it almost always does in the playoffs, turnovers will be huge Saturday, and I expect that to be the difference. Expect this to be a tight game until the 49ers come up with a big takeaway in the second half, stretching its lead to 2 scores.
Bold Predictions: Frank Gore will rush for over 125 yards and at least 1 score. Aldon Smith will record at least 3 sacks and will cause the game changing turnover.
FINAL SCORE: 49ers 27 Saints 20
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Topics: 49ers, 49ERS HOME PLAYOFFS, 49ers Vs Saints, Aldon Smith, Alex Smith, CANDLESTICK PARK, DREW BREES, Frank Gore, Jim Harbaugh, Justin Smith, Navarro Bowman, NFL Playoffs, Niner Noise, Ninernoise.com, Parys Haralson, Patrick Willis, Saints, Why The 49ers WILL Defeat The Saints