Game Time: Saturday at 4:30 EST
Weather: Sunny with a high near 58 degrees
Spread: New Orleans -4
I really like the Saints not only in this game, but for the rest of the playoffs. I had a good feeling heading into it all last week when I proclaimed the game over before it started against the Lions, but they solidified that conclusion now. However, if there is one team in the playoffs that can slow this explosive offense down, it’s the 49ers.
San Fran was one of the surprise teams of 2011. I’m not sure anyone was sure they were going to compile a 13-3 record. I certainly didn’t. Yet they were led by a punishing defense that got them just enough points to win most of their games. However, I think the Saints defense is just good enough to make the 49ers struggle. I don’t think their defense can slow the Saints enough though, who now apparently possess a running game as well as their aerial attack.
Saints – 24, 49ers – 21
This is a very intriguing matchup; elite offense vs. elite defense. Normally, I think the better defense wins the game, but I think one has to question the overall power of the 49ers offense. Alex Smith better be ready to make some big plays because the Saints are not going to allow Frank Gore to be the guy that sends them packing.
The Saints will put a lot of pressure in Smith’s face and no matter how good their defense is, Drew Brees is gonna find a way to get the ball in that end zone and hopefully get Alex Smith in a situation where he is having to play catch-up. So I am going with the team that has far more playoff experience.
Saints – 34, 49ers – 23
Another well rested team is the San Francisco 49ers. Another very strong candidate for Coach of the Year, Jim Harbaugh, leads the team in his first season as head coach and what a turnaround he has had. The 49er’s defense has been great, especially in the run category, but this is the Saints, where the passing attack will be what you need to stop.
The Saints are absolutely rolling. Drew Brees is the only other Most Valuable Player candidate with Aaron Rodgers, in my mind. They can score points in bunches and the defense has a knack for making a stop when they need to. The 49ers can hold the Saints for a half, but soon enough the Saints will get a couple quick touchdowns on the board, and Alex Smith and the 49er offense can’t keep up.
Saints – 27, 49ers – 17