Saints vs. 49ers: Why Drew Brees Will Easily End San Francisco's Dream Year
The Saints are rolling into, and now through, the NFL playoffs with a record-setting offense that is being led by the aforementioned Brees who now owns the NFL single-season passing yardage record.
The scariest part of the New Orleans offense is that they may be better than the juggernaut that led the Saints to their 2009 Super Bowl Championship.
That claim will face its toughest defensive test next weekend against the San Francisco 49ers in an achingly exciting matchup.
Here are a few reasons why the irresistible force that is the New Orleans Saints offense will take down the immovable object that is the Niners defense.
The Saints Can Run, but They Don't Need To
One of the most underrated aspects of the Saints offense, and how Drew Brees and Sean Payton chose to execute it, is the rushing attack.
A healthy trio of Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Darren Sproles makes for a potent ground game that helps keep the New Orleans offense on schedule.
The Niners will look to shut that rushing attack down, but that doesn't keep the Saints from putting points on the board. San Francisco was notorious for not allowing rushing touchdowns this season, but that won't bother New Orleans because....
Saints Score Through the Air
The San Francisco 49ers have one of the most vaunted rush defenses in the NFL, which doesn't phase the Saints as they prefer to score through the air anyway.
This fact is evidenced by the 46 passing touchdowns from the arm of Drew Brees in 2011.
Obviously, the Niners did not get to where they are by having a completely one-dimensional defense, but it is clear that they control the ground and may not be able to control the air the same way.
Jimmy Graham, along with fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski, are easily the toughest matchups for a defense to scheme against in the NFL.
Jim Harbaugh has his Niners defense playing as tough and smart as anyone in the league heading into the playoffs, but that doesn't mean that they have a solution for Jimmy Graham.
Choosing to lock down Graham completely means that another mismatch opens up with outside threats Devery Henderson or Marques Colston for New Orleans.
Drew Brees knows exactly how to exploit this advantage, and it is not one that the Niners are adept at adjusting to.
Brees and Company Could Be Held to Half Their Average Total and Still Win
The clear advantage on defense goes to San Francisco over New Orleans, but the offenses of both teams are so far apart that it swings the balance in the Saints favor.
San Francisco's defense could give a monumental effort and literally cut New Orleans' offensive production in half, and the Saints might still net almost 400 total yards and 28 points.
On a good day for the Niners offense that kind of production is not always there, and hence it might make life extremely tough on Alex Smith trying to keep up through the air, which all of the sudden gives the Saints defense a chance to score a turnover or two.