The New Orleans Saints (3-4) pack their bags to head out to the West Coast to take on the San Francisco 49ers (1-6) on Sunday in a late kickoff, as the team faces their second NFC West foe of the year. Sean Payton’s squad has a glorious opportunity to get back to .500, which could set up a very interesting back half of the season.
After an impressive 28-0 shutout victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1, the 49ers have lost six consecutive games in 2016. Chip Kelly’s squad has been searching for answers, but his worst-ranked rushing defense that’s allowing 185.1 yards/game has been a major problem. Couple that with the fact the team has given up an average of 37 points per game in their last three contests against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, and Arizona Cardinals, and you can clearly see the recipe for disaster.
Coming out of the bye week, the 49ers just hope that some changes have been made. The Saints red-hot offense found success against the Seahawks in Week 8’s 25-20 victory, accumulating 375 total yards of offense that was highlighted by 123 yards on the ground. Despite just putting up 25 points, the team remains second in the NFL with nearly 29 points per game (28.7).
It’s worth mentioning that fans haven’t forgotten about the last trip to San Francisco, which saw the the 2011 squad lose in heartbreaking last-second fashion to a much different 49ers team. For many, it was going to be the second Super Bowl, because that team was so talented. Unfortunately, it never came to fruition and then the alleged Bounty Gate garbage came out which sent the Saints into a tailspin for 2012.
The two teams would meet in each of the next three seasons after the 2011 playoff game, with all games being played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome from 2012-2014. The Saints would go 1-2, and many might remember the non-touchdown call that should have been for Jimmy Graham at the end of the 2014 game. Needless to say, the hatred of the 49ers goes back a long way for many Saints fans, but had a certain bitterness that came following the 2011 season.
While much of the hatred has been lost over the years, it still remains top of mind for many. It’s hard for fans to not look ahead to a big home meeting in Week 10 when the Denver Broncos come to town. You just have to hope that this isn’t your classic trap game the Saints are walking into.