The New Orleans Saints host the San Francisco 49ers with an opportunity to stand firmly in control of home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs for a second consecutive season. Now, the Niners come to town with an identical 10-2 record, but due to Seattle’s equal 10-2 record and the tiebreaker over them, San Francisco currently sits fifth in the NFC playoff seeding.
No matter what the record or seeding, the hate Saints fans have for the Niners is always strong, and this marquee matchup has been circled on the calendar for quite some time now. This game will go a very long way in playoff seeding and team confidence going forward, not to mention the confidence of the fanbases involved. This is the big one, folks, the one we’ve waited for for a very long time.
Let’s take a look at all of the crucial matchups in the league this week as we enter the final stretch of the 2019 NFL season.
Last week I went 8-8
I told you so: Seahawks over Vikings!
What do I know: Patriots over Texans?
Thursday, December 5th - Thursday Night Football
The NFC’s two most underachieving teams face off in the Disappointment Bowl. Everything points towards a 13-10 type defensive struggle in this matchup, but don't be surprised if this game flips that script and things go off the rails here. Dallas wins 33-30.
Sunday, December 8th - Early Games
Matt Ryan will climb himself out of the hole he was stiff-armed into on Thanksgiving and lead the Falcons to a win over the self-imploding Panthers. Atlanta wins 30-13.
Colts(6-6) at Buccaneers(5-7)
Jacoby Brissett will lead Indy to a win in Tampa, keeping his team in the playoff race. Indianapolis wins 25-22.
Miami will have a big passing game against the Jets defense. Miami wins 20-12.
After their loss on Monday Night, Minnesota will rebound with a huge game against the Detroit defense. Minnesota wins 31-16.
Houston keeps rolling along, with an easy win over Denver. Houston wins 29-7.
Buffalo’s defense has been great this season, but they will struggle against the red-hot Ravens. Baltimore wins 30-10.
Cincy’s one-game win streak will be snapped here against Cleveland. Cleveland wins 26-23.
Green Bay will absolutely decimate Washington in Lambeau. Green Bay wins 42-12.
49ers(10-2) at Saints(10-2) - Game of the Week
The task ahead for the Saints defense is clear, they must do what they do best, and shut down the run. That task will be challenged by San Francisco’s second-ranked rushing attack, but the Saints are built for this challenge. Make the Niners one-dimensional and force the game onto the arm of Jimmy Garoppolo, the allow the pass rush to pin its ears back and feast like its Thanksgiving all over again.
The task in front of the Saints offense stands a little more challenging as they face the NFL’s top-ranked defense. The right side of the Saints offensive line will have to hold their own against a huge challenge and they simply cannot afford to be a liability this week. San Francisco has been the top defensive unit for the better part of the season and it would be surprising to see them get torched in this game.
Here’s the thing though, this season San Francisco has yet to face anything like they will this Sunday, a Super Bowl MVP/Hall of Fame quarterback along with a Super Bowl winning coach, armed with a league MVP contending wide receiver, and the most dangerous wild card in the NFL in the backfield. On top of this, there is the Superdome crowd, which should be at their most raucous and deafening level we've heard this season.
This will be an all-out war, both teams knowing what is on the line in this game. Both teams have known for a while now that this would be their biggest non-divisional game of the season, considering the playoff implications. These teams and this game will not disappoint. This one will come down to the very end, and although it will not be good for our physical, mental, and emotional health, the Saints will pull through when it’s all said and done. Saints win 24-21.
Sunday, December 8th - Late Games
Los Angeles has suffered catastrophic losses this season, but this won't be one of them. Los Angeles wins 29-20.
Despite everything against them, Pittsburgh has remained alive in the Wild Card chase, and they will beat on the league’s worst defense in Arizona. Pittsburgh wins 28-17.
Oakland may very well be the league’s streakiest team this season, and their losing streak surprisingly ends here against Tennessee. Oakland wins 21-13.
These franchises have had some incredible matchups in recent years and this one will be no exception. Ultimately, KC’s suspect defense will let them down in the end. New England wins 38-36.
Sunday Night Football
Seattle’s defense will completely take Todd Gurley and the Rams’ running game out of the game, turning this into a shootout, a shootout won by Russell Wilson. Seattle wins 30-26.
Monday, December 9th - Monday Night Football
Philly is doing absolutely everything they can to take themselves out of the NFC East race, but they get a freebie here against the Giants. Philadelphia wins 25-21.
There it is, Week 14 of the NFL season. The Saints have a chance to move closer to the NFC’s top seed while severely hurting a bitter rival! Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!