This morning, the New Orleans Saints (4-4) will play host to the San Francisco 49ers (4-4) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Both teams will be looking to climb above .500 with a win.
The 49ers are coming off of an upset 13-10 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Rams. The Saints are coming off of a 28-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
While both teams are 4-4, one is surging forward while the other appears to be losing a handle on its season. After losing three of their first four, the Saints have now won three of their last four. The 49ers have lost two straight. One of those losses came against a severely injury plagued Rams team. At 4-4, the Saints lead the NFC South while the 49ers are sitting behind the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks, three games back in the NFC West. At this point, the 49ers' playoff hopes appear to be on life support, making a win against the Saints a necessity.
Things won't get easy for the 49ers, who enter a very competitive portion of their schedule. With the Cardinals playing strong, the 49ers are hoping to turn things around today. However, other than the Saints, they still have to play the Seahawks twice, the Chargers, and another matchup with the Cardinals to end the season.
The offensive line for the 49ers has been plagued by injuries and poor play. Despite adding some weapons for quarterback Colin Kaepernick to target, arguably one of the deepest receiving groups the team has had in years, the offense has struggled to find any rhythm. The Rams defense, who had managed to compile just six sacks during their first seven games, brought Kaepernick down eight times at Levi's Stadium last weekend.
The running game has been nearly nonexistent. It has averaged just 77 yards per game, which ranks 26th in the league. Running back Frank Gore has had 16 or more carries only four times this season. All of which were wins. The 49ers have lost every game where Gore has had less then 16 carries.
The Saints have won 11 straight home games, which is currently second best to the New England Patriots and their streak of 14 straight. Running back Mark Ingram is averaging 4.9 yards per carry this season. Their defense has had 11 sacks in the past three games.
Quarterback Drew Brees, who has a 119.8 quarterback rating during the team's 11 home game win streak, will be facing a 49ers defense that is missing numerous key pieces. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman is still attempting to recover from a torn ACL suffered at the end of last season. Linebacker Patrick Willis could miss his third straight game with a toe injury. Linebacker Aldon Smith will be serving the final game of his nine game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct and substance abuse policies.
As usual, you can visit 49erswebzone.com for the latest news and updates during and after the game.
With a win in New Orleans, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh would win his 20th career road game, becoming the 2nd fastest head coach in franchise history to reach 20 road victories. The team is currently 19-9 on the road under Harbaugh.
Among all teams that Drew Brees has faced multiple times since 2011 in the regular season, the 49ers defense has held him to a passer rating of 87.0, his 2nd lowest rating against any opponent.
The 49ers rank 18th with 345.6 yards per game. The Saints rank 2nd with 436.5 yards per game.
The 49ers rank 2nd, allowing 291.9 yards per game. The Saints rank 21st, allowing 370.5 yards per game.
Last season, the Saints beat the 49ers 23-20 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The game kicks off at 10:00 AM PT.
The Saints are 5 point favorites.
At Yahoo! Sports, 66% of fans believe that the Saints will win this game. Within our Pick 'em contest, 59% of fans believe that the 49ers will win this game.
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The game will be televised on FOX. You can check to see if the game is being aired in your area at 506 Sports.