NFL Playoff Predictions: Drew Brees and Saints Too Much to Handle for 49ers

Luis Batlle@lbatll1Contributor IJanuary 9, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:   Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints holds the ball in the air as he runs off the field after defeating the Detroit Lions by a score of 45-28 to win during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints (13-3) got the best of the Detroit Lions (10-6) in the first-round Wild-Card matchup, as the team will be headed to San Francisco to take on the No. 2 49ers.

In spite of as strong a season as any team in the NFL this season, the 49ers will be at the mercy of QB Drew Brees and the Saints offense in this second-round matchup of epic proportions.

One of the keys to a Saints' victory will be the amount of momentum this team will be riding on heading into the matchup.

The Saints have won an NFL-leading nine consecutive football games, a streak that includes the victory over the Lions. This is a streak that includes six games with over 30 pointsβ€”five of which were games with at least 40 points scored.

The 49ers are winners of four of their last five games on the season, as they prove to be a team riding strong momentum into the postseason as well. Yet, what makes this streak all the more different is in the opponents this team has faced.

Each of the last five teams this 49ers team has gone up against are teams that feature bottom-12 offenses in points per game in the NFL. The best offense the 49ers have faced in those five games were the No. 21 ranked Pittsburgh Steelers.

Yet, the solid three points allowed defensively also came against a banged-up Steelers team with Roethlisberger unable to move around outside of the pocket with an ankle injury.

QB Drew Brees, the engine that runs this Saints offense, will be the key to a sure victory over the 49ers. In a season that Brees shattered the record for most passing yards in a season, the Pro Bowl QB finished with seven-straight 300-yard games and a whopping 14 touchdowns in his last three outings.

With 17 touchdowns in his last four games, expect Brees to go after the 49ers' secondary early and often in this contest.

In what will be a case of a strong 49ers defense facing a significantly stronger QB in Drew Brees, expect the Saints to force the 49ers to throw the ball early and play catch-up. Β 


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