This will be the first game of the NFC Divisional Round and will decide the first team that will play in the NFC Championship. The Saints have arguably the best offense in the NFL and the 49ers are definitely one of the best defenses.
However, it will be difficult for any team to stop the Saints' offense, even the 49ers. The experts are saying that New Orleans will be shocked by Patrick Willis and company on Saturday because they have not played a defense like the 49ers' all season.
However, that is completely untrue. The Saints played the Houston Texans and they have a very good defense. In fact, the Saints played the Texans when they still had Mario Williams, arguably the best defensive playmaker for Houston.
New Orleans put up 40 points on that amazing defense. It does not matter where the game is played, 40 points on a top three defense is impressive.
The Saints also faced the Jacksonville Jaguars who had the sixth ranked defense in 2011. They traveled to Jacksonville and had one of their worst performances of the season but were still able to put up 503 yards and 23 points.
Both of these defenses finished in the top six in the NFL, but neither could do much to stop Drew Brees and the Saints offense. The 49ers defense may be able to slow down Brees and company, but they cannot stop them for four quarters.
The Saints have won nine straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL, and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. The Saints have put up over 600 yards in their last two games and have had at least 437 yards of offense in every game since Week 12.
Can the Saints offense be stopped?
The Saints have been held under 300 yards of offense only once in 2011. New Orleans also averages 34 points a game, the second most in the NFL.
The best part about the New Orleans' offense is that they are not just a great passing team, but they can run the ball well too.
The Saints have rushed for over 200 yards three times this season and over 100 yards 12 times out of their 16 games. New Orleans has rushed for over 100 yards in their last seven games, including last week against the Detroit Lions.
The simple fact is that the 49ers have not played an offense like that of the Saints in 2011. Sure, the 49ers played against teams like Detroit and Dallas, but are we really going to say either of those teams are comparable to the Saints offense?
The Saints proved last week that the Lions cannot compete with them. Not only is the Saints' passing game better than the Lions, but the Saints actually have a running game, unlike Detroit. New Orleans' offense is also much better than the offense in Dallas.
Other than those two teams, the 49ers have not played against any teams with much offensive firepower, but definitely none like the Saints offense.
The Saints will use receivers Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem and Adrian Arrington in the passing game. The Saints could get back receiver Lance Moore and New Orleans' also has Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham to work with. Not to mention an outstanding backfield in Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.
The 49ers can focus on stopping the run or the pass, but New Orleans' will capitalize on whichever area San Francisco lapses on. Even if the 49ers are able to cut the Saints' offensive production in half, that leaves New Orleans' with 300 plus total offensive yards and around 20-24 points, which will likely be enough to beat the 49ers and their average offense.
No matter which perspective you take, the 49ers cannot stop the offense of the New Orleans Saints.