Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Rosenthal says Fred Warner could be the difference-maker on Sunday, predicts 49ers beat Saints

Dec 5, 2019 at 2:28 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers are in Bradenton, Florida this week gearing up for a big NFC showdown against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Both teams enter the matchup with identical 10-2 records. The Saints, however, are currently the top seed in the NFC, having already beaten the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks.

The 49ers are trying to regain the division and conference leads, which slipped away after Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Beating the Saints this weekend would go a long way toward doing so. A Los Angeles Rams upset win over the Seahawks would help, too.

San Francisco can only control its game, though. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Media believes the 49ers can beat the Saints in the hostile Superdome, and identified one defensive player who might be a key to the team's potential victory.

"This could decide home-field advantage in the NFC, but I worry about the Saints offense going into this game because they've done it this year a little differently," Rosenthal said on NFL Network. "They just prevent turnovers. They don't make mistakes. They don't make big plays, but they're ninth in the league in points per game. They're ninth in the league in yards per play, and this is easily the toughest matchup that they've had all season.

"I think the Saints usually can go strength on strength with their passing game. I don't think they can do it this week, and one of the reasons is Fred Warner of the 49ers. If this guy had 'Kuechly' on the back of his jersey, I think we'd be talking about Defensive Player of the Year.

"I have not seen a linebacker play this well in coverage and then getting to the edge in the running game. I think he's going to stuff Alvin Kamara on Sunday, and I think the 49ers go in there and get a win."

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