Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- Despite a rocky start to the season, the 49ers are currently in the driver’s seat of the NFC West.
- The Saints defense has given up 20+ points in ten of their eleven games so far this season.
- The 49ers defense is more vulnerable through the air than on the ground, something the Saints were able to exploit last week against the Rams.
- The 49ers playmakers could have a field day against a Saints defense that has struggled with tackling this season.
How nEW oRLEANS Will Try To Win ::
The Saints offense has been sputtering lately following a four game stretch where they averaged 31 points per game and were heavily featuring Alvin Kamara. Over their last three games, Kamara has averaged only 13 touches per game after he was used as a workhorse during their stretch of offensive success with 25 touches per game. On the surface, it seems pretty straightforward what they can do to improve their offense, but digging a little deeper we can see that is a bit easier said than done. The Saints offensive slide has also coincided with a drastic improvement in the quality of defenses they have faced.
This week, the Saints face a 49ers defense that profiles similarly to the Rams defense the Saints just faced. Both the 49ers and Rams have top-five run defenses and are more susceptible through the air. That is where the similarities stop, however, as the 49ers have PFF’s third graded coverage unit and a top-10 pass rush, while the Rams rank 31st in the NFL in pressure rate and have been torn up through the air while they’ve sat in zone coverage several times this season. The 49ers defense has given up over 20 points only twice this season, once at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and once due to several turnovers against the Falcons. In their last three games, the 49ers defense has only surrendered 40 total points against the Rams, Chargers, and Cardinals.
We should expect a conservative, but slightly pass heavy approach from the Saints this week as they are highly unlikely to find much running room against the 49ers run defense in this matchup, especially with Alvin Kamara battling an illness this week. The Saints could also turn to Taysom Hill in a larger role this week due to Kamara’s illness and as a way to give the 49ers different looks. Hill was used as a passer, runner, and receiver in last week’s win over the Rams and may be the “wild card” the Saints need to stay competitive this week.