49ers vs. Saints: 5 matchups San Francisco needs to exploit

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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49ers, Saints
San Francisco 49ers against the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers look to get back to their winning ways after their loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. They travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints, currently the top seed in the NFC. Let’s take a look at several matchups the 49ers can take advantage of this coming Sunday.

After losing their second game of the season on Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens 20-17, the San Francisco 49ers are seeking to improve their record yet again when they visit the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans against the NFC-leading Saints.

Over the last decade, this has been a matchup that has produced some great moments, including the 2011 NFC Wild Card game, which ended on former Niners tight end Vernon Davis’ “The Catch III.” And the so-called Drew Brees “Rubber Neck” game in Week 11 of the 2013 season, where a sack fumble of Brees by then-49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks was overturned by a roughing-the-passer penalty, due to the way the Saints quarterback’s neck bent on the hit.

But the two teams haven’t met since November of 2016, when a then 3-4 Saints squad pummeled a 1-6 Niners team 41-23 at Levi’s Stadium.

Check the box score at your own peril, 49ers fans.

But with both teams coming into this week’s game with identical 10-2 records and each having aspirations of playing — and hopefully winning — Super Bowl LIV in Miami next February, there’s a lot riding on this Week 14 matchup. That’s especially true for San Francisco, which went from first in the division and the top seed in the NFC, to second in the NFC West and the conference’s fifth seed with the loss on Sunday and the Seattle Seahawks’ win the following night.

The records indicate that this should be an excellent game, and in spite the quality on both sides of the ball for the Saints, there are matchups the 49ers can take advantage of to help them win on the road.

Let’s take a look at the five most important ones.