Blog Entry

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Preview

Posted on: September 25, 2008 12:11 pm
I wouldn't exactly call this game a "must win" but if the 49ers want to be taken seriously they have to at least be competitive.  New Orleans has a very good offense, one of the best in the league, and is coming off of 2 consecutive losses so they are hungry for a win.  San Francisco does have confidence in themselves and confidence is very important for a young team.  If either team really has any kind psychological edge here I would say it is the 49ers because they have nothing to lose and are going to be playing their hearts out.

49ers Offense vs. Saints Defense

The 49ers really should be able to move the ball on New Orleans as well as they did against the Lions.  I mean, going purely by numbers, the Saints defense is almost as bad as the Lions.  New Orleans is giving up 27.7 points per game (27th), 392 yards per game (28th), 259 passing yards per game (29th), 133 rushing yards per game (22nd), and 6.2 yards per play (29th).  Their secondary is okay at best and they don't have much of a pass rush, only 4 sacks this season.  As of right now the 49ers also have a playoff caliber offense.  With 25.7 points per game (11th), 342 yards per games (11th), 214 passing yards per game (12th), 128 rushing yards per game (11th), and 6 yards per play (6th).  J.T. O'Sullivan is once again proving Mike Martz's genius and his having a very good season.  After a forgettable opening game against Arizona in which he turned the ball over 3 times and didn't throw a touchdown pass he has thrown 3 touchdowns and not turned the ball over once.  He has posted a passer rating of over 100 in each of the last two games, has the 4th highest passer rating in the league, is completing almost 67% of his passes, and has a ridiculous 9.4 yards per attempt.  Frank Gore is also having a great season.  He is leading the league in yards from scrimmage with 412 and has a touchdown in each game this season.  None of the 49ers wide receivers are doing anything special but between Bryant Johnson, Isaac Bruce, and Arnaz Battle they have a good group who should be able to get open against a, as already pointed out, bad secondary.  Vernon Davis has been getting open this season and been part of Martz's gameplan, with 15 targets, but he can't seem to catch.

Saints Offense vs. 49ers defense

Another week, another great match-up for San Francsico.  Like Detroit, New Orleans has a great passing attack (1st in the league) and not much of a running game (28th).  Drew Brees is having a great season right now completing 74% of his passes and with a passer rating of 103 but Nate Clements and Walt Harris have already shut down tow very high powered passing attacks in Arizona and Detroit.  Still, while his receivers are nowhere near the caliber of either Arizona's or Detroit's, Brees is much better than Jon Kitna and probably a little bit better than Kurt Warner.  Brees will get his yards.  If the 49ers want to hold Brees down, compared to what he has done so far, they are going to have to put pressure on him and seeing as Nolan has not blitzed much at all this season that is a stretch.  The injury to Jamar Nesbit helps but I still don't think San Francisco will get much pressure with a 4 man front and if they allow Brees to sit back in the pocket all day he will get more than yards.  Reggie Bush is quietly having a very good season, at least catching the ball.  He is leading the league in receptions with 26 and has more receiving yards and touchdowns than any player on either team.  He isn't running the ball very well, however.  He has a dismal 3.6 yards per carry and even Pierre Thomas, who is supposed to be a better runner, is only averaging 3.4.  San Francisco's run defense isn't playing very well allowing 4.2 yards per carry though so Bush and Thomas might find some room if Mike Nolan continues the nickel defense all game strategy.  The key to the 49ers stopping Bush, in both the running game and passing game, is Manny Lawson.  If Lawson is on the field I am not really worried about Bush but if he isn't I am.


This should be at the least a very entertaining game as both teams have good offenses.  These teams have played in each of the last two seasons with New Orleans winning 34-10 and 31-10 but those scores are pretty irrelevant though.  In 2006 the 49ers didn't have Nate Clements, Michael Lewis, Patrick Willis, and Justin Smith, 4 of there best defensive players right now, and last year the starting QB was an injured Alex Smith, the #1 receiver was Darrell Jackson, and Manny Lawson wasn't playing.  Those 49er teams obviously aren't as good as this year's team while, due to injuries, the Saints are arguably worse on both sides of the ball than they have been for the past two seasons.  Final Score: SF- 31, NO- 24.  Drew Brees throws for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns but also 2 interceptions while being sacked 3 times, Reggie Bush adds 100 yards of total offense and 2 total touchdowns; JTO throws for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, is sacked 2, Frank Gore breaks 150 yards of total offense and has 2 rushing touchdowns, Vernon Davis gets his first touchdown of the season, and Bryant Johnson is the 49ers leading receiver.

Other Game Predictions

Atlanta @ Carolina: Carolina
Cleveland @ Cincinnati: Cincinnati
Houston @ Jacksonville: Jacksonville
Denver @ Kansas City: Denver
Arizona @ New York Jets: Arizona
Green Bay @ Tampa Bay: Green Bay
Minnesota @ Tennessee: Tennessee
San Diego @ Oakland: San Diego
Buffalo @ St. Louis: Buffalo
Washington @ Dallas: Dallas
Philadelphia @ Chicago: Philadelphia
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh: Baltimore
Category: NFL

Since: Sep 27, 2008
Posted on: September 27, 2008 12:37 pm

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Preview

Any word on Bryant Johnson?  I'd like to start him, but I know he is questionable for this week.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: September 27, 2008 9:21 am

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Preview

Thanks for showing the 49ers some respect at least, dabone.

Since: Jul 8, 2008
Posted on: September 26, 2008 9:39 pm

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Preview

Go Saints 34-24 saints

Since: Feb 12, 2007
Posted on: September 26, 2008 1:37 pm

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Preview

I would hands down like to see the 49ers push through this game and come away with a close victory. 

The 49ers are 11th in total team offense right now and 10th in total team defense.  This means a lot in todays NFL.  My keys to the game are:

1. Limit the turnovers, they kill any team

2. Put pressure on Drew Brees and sack him at least 4 times!

3. Keep the momemtum up on offense, we can thank Mike Martz for this category.

Just those three factors will keep this game close and maybe edge the 49ers a win here.  Time to re-define the leagues view of the 49ers.

Go Niners!

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: September 26, 2008 12:55 pm

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Preview

That's right Kyle. containing Reggie Bush and pressuring Drew Brees will test the defense. If Brees gets the protection he needs, then he will pick our secondary apart no matter who we have back there. It will be loud. Seattle was loud too. We'll probably have more than our share of false starts and sacks. But if JTO shows the resiliency he showed in Seattle and converts those 3rd and longs, then our offense will be ok.

Since: Aug 12, 2008
Posted on: September 26, 2008 12:00 pm

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Preview

It will be interesting to see how the 49ers fare in a domed stadium against the Saints. Yes, the Saints are banged up and without some key players, but they have Drew Brees and Reggie Bush. These top-tiered players are always going to be dangerous. Just because a few guys are out, like Jeremy Shockey, Brees has the ability to make the players around him better.

This is a true test of heart for the 49ers on Sunday. I think that it all lies on the hands of Greg Manusky's playbook. If he and Nolan aren't putting a lot of pressure on the QB, and containing Reggie Bush off the line, the 49ers are going to be toast. Time of possession is going to be crucial, and SF needs to come out swinging early and often.

I really want to see Reggie Bush cross the middle and get a little shovel pass from Brees, only to meet our main man Mr. Patrick Willis. I want a "WHOOOOOOOOO" play! I see Willis as containing Bush all day, and the secondary with Nate Clements and Walt Harris with tight coverage. We really need Allen Rossum to step up on special teams and give our offense great field position. He needs to get some big returns so our defense can rest and J.T. O'Sullivan can do his thing.

With Frank Gore hot, he should continue to help move the chains and eat up the clock. As long as Joe Staley keeps JTO safe, the offense should have a big day.

Its going to be a tight game, as New Orleans cannot afford to go 1-3. If the 49ers continue to grow as one individual unit, they will come out victorious before the brutal stretch of games in October.



Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: September 25, 2008 6:51 pm

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Preview


That touchdown catch by Rudi was in garbage time after the game was over.  If bush is padding the stats in a 9er blowout I wouldn't mind that at all.  But I doubt that will be the case.

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: September 25, 2008 12:53 pm

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints Preview

Hey Abaddon. Good preview. This will be a true test for the 49ers. The Saints are a playoff caliber team. Much will depend on Reggie Bush. Rudy Johnson took a short catch last week and turned it into a TD. We can't allow Bush to control the pace of the game. The short dump off passes are essentially running plays so the Saints rush stat is a little misleading. The Saints are doing a good job of getting him into open space. If Bush runs free, this will set up Brees for the passing game so the Bush dynamic can potentially create a lot of problems for us. Plus, like most good teams, the Saints are tough at home. The 49ers went into a hostile environment in Seattle and prevailed, but that is an opponent we face twice a year. The Saints destroyed us last year. Although our defense is much improved, we basically return the same defense from last year with a few tweaks. I think it will be a high scoring affair with the Saints edging us out 34-30. But I am still optimistic that if we do some of these things right (limit Bush, limit penalties, limit sacks/turnovers, and keep the game close) we can eek out a win.

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