What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Both objects are assumed to be indestructible. It is a paradox that has been asked for centuries. On Saturday, January 14, we may finally have an answer.
The New Orleans Saints, a team with one of the most potent offenses in the NFL, will travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers, a team with one of the most fierce defenses in the NFL.
It is said that if you score at least 24 points in a game, you put yourself in a good position to win that game. It is also said that if your defense allows less than 17 points in a game, you also put yourself in a good position to win that game. The San Francisco 49ers have been accomplishing both these goals this season. While their overall offense ranks only 26th in the league, they rank 11th in scoring averaging about 24 points per game. This has helped them to a 13-3 record.
New Orleans Saints Offensive Season Statistics
Points Per Game: 34.2 (2nd)
Yards Per Game: 467.1 (1st)
Passing Yards Per Game: 334.2 (1st)
Rushing Yards Per Game: 132.9 (6th)
New Orleans Saints Defensive Season Statistics
Points Per Game: 21.2 (13th)
Yards Per Game: 368.4 (24th)
Passing Yards Per Game: 259.8 (30th)
Rushing Yards Per Game: 108.6 (12th)
San Francisco 49ers Offensive Season Statistics
Points Per Game: 23.8 (11th)
Yards Per Game: 310.9 (26th)
Passing Yards Per Game: 183.1 (29th)
Rushing Yards Per Game: 127.8 (8th)
San Francisco 49ers Defensive Season Statistics
Points Per Game: 14.3 (2nd)
Yards Per Game: 308.2 (4th)
Passing Yards Per Game: 230.9 (16th)
Rushing Yards Per Game: 77.2 (1st)
Many are wondering if the 49ers can compete in a shootout. However, if they play 49ers football on Saturday, they should not have to. Their goal is not to win a shootout. They are not relying on just their offense to keep them in this game. The 49ers are banking on their defense stopping Drew Brees and the Saints potent offense. If they can put strong pressure on Brees, a tactic that worked well for the St. Louis Rams in their regular season upset over New Orleans, then they won't need win a shootout. So we come back to the question, "Can our immovable object beat an unstoppable force?"
The 49ers have scored 24 or more points in 8 games this season and are 7-1 in those games. The saints have scored 24 or more points in 12 games this season and are 11-1 in those games. Those stats look uglier if this game becomes a shootout, something the 49ers may not be able to afford. The 49ers have scored more than 30 points in only 3 games, but are 3-0 on those games. However, the Saints have scored more than 30 points in 10 games and are 9-1 in those games.
The bye week should have been beneficial to linebacker Patrick Willis and running back Frank Gore, giving both players some much needed rest. Willis is the leader of the 49ers defense and the team will need Gore to take advantage of the Saints defense, which has been struggling against the power run.
Kickoff will be at 1:30 PM Pacific at Candlestick Park. For those that cannot attend, the game will be televised on FOX.
On a personal note, I will be in attendance on Saturday. I have been trying to attend at least two games a year since my father first took me in the mid 90's; however, this will be my wife and my first time at an NFL playoff game. We were there at last season's heart breaking home opener when the 49ers fell just short to the Saints. I can't wait to witness the atmosphere of a 49ers playoff game and be part of the team's resurgence. Go Niners!