The New Orleans Saints were able to pull together a win this past weekend against the Los Angeles Rams, and now sit at 4-7. This week they will take on the San Francisco 49ers, currently at 6-4 coming off a 38-10 MNF win against the Arizona Cardinals. The Saints have a very slim margin for error to get back on track now and could be at 6-7 entering their week 14 bye if they can pull it together before then. Taking it one week at a time is key and building off the momentum of a win is huge, so in this article, we will take a look at how the Saints’ passing offense and 49ers’ passing defense have performed so far this season, and then how we project these units to perform against each other this Sunday.
How have these units performed this season?
Well, statistically, these two units have been some of the better in the league overall both in efficiency and productivity. With the Saints, they rank 6th in passing yards (2,792), 8th in yards per reception (7.6), 12th in completion percentage (65.7%), T-5th in passing touchdowns (19), 11th in passer rating (91.9), 10th in passing first downs (128), and 13th in passing first down success rate (34.6%). However, they also have the most interceptions thrown on the season with 12. Overall, not the best unit in the league for sure, especially when you watch it, but also not the worst.
On the other side of the ball, the 49ers rank top 10 in most of the major passing defense statistics and have been very good this season. They have allowed the 7th least passing yards (2,028), the 7th lowest yards per catch allowed (6.0), T-2nd lowest passing touchdowns allowed (9), T-8th most interceptions (9), 7th least passing first downs allowed (104), and the 8th lowest passing first down success rate allowed (31%). Overall, a very stout unit so far this year.
How will these units perform head-to-head?
All things considered, the 49ers have a relatively strong advantage in this department, as they have been strong in pass defense all year. While the Saints have been respectable in passing offense statistically, the on-field product can be lackluster at times to say the least, and the high interceptions total certainly makes things difficult at times. Against a team such as San Francisco who has quite a few opportunistic interceptions to their credit this season, they will take advantage of any chance they get to get the ball back for their offense.
Another note is the Saints’ offensive line, which allowed 4 sacks last week and has been heavily injured the last two weeks or so. With Erik McCoy still on IR and James Hurst still nursing an injury, keep an eye on the status of this unit, as it could be even more important to the passing game this week than in previous weeks. We will see how Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry fare against a very strong secondary presence, and truly see if this offense just had good luck last week, or if they have really started to get the ball rolling. For now though, the 49ers stack up better on paper in this department.