It’s never fun to play the team that was a play or two away from the Super Bowl the year before.
It’s even worse to play them at their place.
Matt: The Niners are a team that scare me. Very few do.
Trey Lance isn’t ready IMO, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be ready by Week 12. He’s also got a lot of help.
Elijah Mitchell (yes, I’m biased) is one of the most underrated RBs in the NFL. After a stellar rookie campaign, look for Eli to be RB1 for San Fran and pop off.
George Kittle is also still a premier tight end in the league, although he’s slacked off over the last two years or so. Brandon Aiyuk is also a solid 2nd receiver. Then there’s Deebo...
Not to mention the O-Line and fantastic defense Kyle Shanahan is working with.
This game will have to be worn with physicality and smart plays. I think both teams will have one player pop off for a great game.
In the end, I think the Saints make one too many mistakes and let this one slip through the cracks and lose on the road.
Score: Saints lose 42-28
Lucas: I think this game will be one of the tougher games for the Saints to defend schematically.
The Niners do an amazing job with misdirection in the run game as well as play-action which is probably the most vulnerable aspect of a strong Saints defense. This alone could keep the game close if not contained early.
Pass defense is the least of my worries. They should dominate in this one. With a young, inexperienced quarterback on the other side they should take advantage.
Offensively in the passing game, the Saints should have their way with this team. The Niners secondary is one of the weaker units in football and not one with depth either. With that being said, I could see the Saints struggle a bit to protect Jameis Winston as well.
Overall, this should be a pretty close game. I think the effectiveness of the run game could be the difference for the Saints. Keeping a strong Niners front-seven honest will be ultra-important.
In the end, I think the Saints will make enough plays on offense to allow the defense to settle in and seal the game in the 4th.
Score: Saints win 24-20
Andrew: The Niners look like they could be a wagon this year. There’s so much talent on that roster, and Kyle Shanahan is undoubtedly an elite play-caller on offense. But the thing that worries me the most about this game is Trey Lance. The Saints defense has shown that it can really struggle against mobile QBs — see Jalen Hurts and the Eagles.
Plus, the San Fran defense is no slouch either, with some elite players in their front seven. I can easily see them getting some pressure on Jameis, forcing him into some bad decisions and stuffing the run.
Overall, I see this as a bad matchup for NOLA on the road against one of the most talented rosters in the league.
Score: 49ers win 31-20
Chris: A good defense should beat a good offense, so give me Dennis Allen and one of the NFL’s best defenses to hold their own against an inexperienced quarterback who might try to force the ball down the field.
The 49ers run game is far from elite, so the Saints D should be able to primarily play against the pass and crash the rush attempts if San Francisco tries to run into a weak box. Give me the Saints to eke one out on the road against their former division rival with Wil Lutz drilling a game-winning field goal as time expires.
Score: Saints win 24-21