SF 49ers vs. Saints: 3 weaknesses Kyle Shanahan must expose in Week 10
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: SF 49ers can capitalize in the red zone
Here’s an anomaly: Despite all its injuries and setbacks this season, Kyle Shanahan’s offense still ranks eighth best in the red zone with a touchdown-scoring percentage of 69.7 percent.
Pretty crazy when considering Shanahan has often helmed offenses that struggle in this area, and last year’s Super Bowl squad managed touchdowns here just 53.2 percent of the time (21st).
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At least the Niners have been effective when given the chance inside opponents’ 20-yard lines, and there’s a juicy opportunity in Week 10 versus the Saints.
New Orleans’ defense is something of an anomaly, too, as it’s given up a disproportionate ratio of points and yards. It’s 200 points allowed ranks 11th best, notably influenced by allowing a mere three points in Week 9 to the Buccaneers, but still contrasting the awfully low 2,493 total yards surrendered (second best).
A key reason, in addition to the lack of takeaways, is the Saints have had some notable issues defending in the red zone.
Despite the lopsided win over the Bucs, New Orleans’ red-zone defense still ranks dead last in the league through nine weeks, opponents scoring touchdowns a whopping 80 percent of the time in this key area.
If there was ever a time for the SF 49ers to capitalize on a weakness, this is it.
The Niners and Saints kick off on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 4:25 p.m. ET.