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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Preview: New Orleans Saints (3-4) at San Francisco 49ers (1-6)

Al Sacco
Nov 2, 2016 at 2:50 PM--
Updated Nov 4, 2016 at 8:28 PM


If the season were to end today, the San Francisco 49ers (1-6) would own the number two overall pick in the NFL Draft. While the team has multiple holes to fill, it also lacks a truly dominant player. At this point, the best-case scenario for the future of the franchise may very well be the lose out and make sure one of those two top spots are available to them. In this scenario, the 49ers would probably have their pick of quarterbacks, or maybe even be able to land the pass rushing phenom Myles Garrett from Texas A&M. The road to the top of the draft will start in Week 9 as the New Orleans Saints (3-4) will bring their high-powered attack to the bay.

Recent History


The Niners have actually won three of their last four against the Saints, with the most recent victory coming in Week 10 of 2014. K Phil Dawson tied the game at 24 on a 45-yard field goal with 44 seconds remaining and then won it in overtime on a 35-yarder. WR Anquan Boldin paced the 49ers attack catching 6 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown and Frank Gore added 83 yards on the ground. The defense picked off QB Drew Brees twice, although he was still able to get his yards, throwing for 292 yards and three scores.

RELATED Chip Kelly has no idea if Carlos Hyde will play Sunday

Players to Watch


The best way for the 49ers to keep Brees and company off the field is to win the time of possession battle. That's easier said than done, however, as San Francisco currently ranks dead last in the NFL at 2:02 per drive. If RB Carlos Hyde is healthy and ready to go in this one, he'll play an important role. Hyde has been a bell cow for most of the season, averaging 18 carries a game. Even if Hyde does get his chances, he'll have to improve on the 3.9 yards per carry he's currently averaging. Actually, Hyde's only eclipsed 3.8 yards per attempt in four of 13 games since becoming the starter. If Hyde can't go or is limited, look for RB DuJuan Harris to also see some action in this one, as he impressed head coach Chip Kelly with his Week 7 performance. With RB Mike Davis and RB Shaun Draughn yet to separate themselves, Harris has a golden opportunity.


While the Saints are known for throwing the ball, it's hard to imagine that head coach Sean Payton won't try and take advantage of a San Francisco run defense that's currently on pace to be the first NFL team to give up 3,000 yards rushing since 1978. With RB Mark Ingram in the doghouse, it could be a timeshare between him and RB Tim Hightower. The Niners have given up 100 yards to a running back in six straight games. Could two backs will get there this week?

Stats to Know


Former 49ers WR Michael Crabtree, WR Anquan Boldin and TE Vernon Davis have combined for 103 receptions, 1,161 yards, and 11 touchdowns so far this season. In comparison, the 49ers as a team have 116 receptions for 1220 yards and 7 touchdowns. Also, RB Frank Gore has been as durable as ever, playing in all 24 games since leaving San Francisco and is on pace for his ninth 1,000-yard season. While letting these players go sounded good in theory, the Niners have failed to really develop anyone to replace them (sans Hyde when healthy).

Game Changing Factor


Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports


Anytime you play against a quarterback the caliber of Brees, he completely changes the game. The future Hall of Famer leads the NFL with 337 yards passing per game this season and is averaging 308 yards in his 10-plus seasons in New Orleans. When you consider how poor the Niner's run defense is, it's tough to imagine stopping Brees as he'll be able to feast on play action passes. It's also hard to believe the QB Colin Kaepernick, whose been held to under 200 yards in 11 of his last 15 games, could match Brees if he needed to.

By the Numbers


The 49ers have scored touchdowns on 8 of their 9 drives that have accumulated 10-or-more plays (88.9%) this season and have the highest 10-play touchdown efficiency in the NFL. San Francisco is also 1 of 2 teams that have scored on all of their possessions lasting 10-or-more plays. Atlanta is the other.

Including the postseason, LB Ahmad Brooks has registered at least 1 sack in each of his 5 career games against the Saints.

In San Francisco's last 3 wins against New Orleans, the 49ers defense has intercepted Saints QB Drew Brees twice in each game.

Matchup Information


Kickoff: Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 1:05 p.m. PT

Where: Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California

All-Time Matchup: 49ers lead series 48-25-2

Last Meeting: 11/9/14, 49ers win 27-24 (OT), at NO

Current Streak: Won 1

Betting: The Saints are 4-point favorites

NFL Fan Picks: 74% pick the Saints to win according to Yahoo! Sports

49ers Fan Picks: Within our Pick 'em Contest, 80% believe the Saints will win

49ers Schedule: View full schedule

Saints News: Saints news at Problitz.com

Follow Game Online: NFL.com's Game Center

Discuss: Niner Talk forum

Follow Us: Facebook, Twitter, Google+

Television and Radio


The game will be televised on FOX (Check 506 Sports to see if it is local).

Play-By-Play: Chris Myers
Color Analyst: Ronde Barber
Sideline Reporter: Jennifer Hale

KGO 810 AM and The Bone 107.7 FM (Other markets) will carry the radio broadcast with Ted Robinson doing the play-by-play and Tim Ryan as the color analyst. ESPN Deportes and KKSF 910 AM will carry the Spanish broadcast.

San Francisco 49ers Injuries


Out
LB Aaron Lynch (ankle), CB Rashard Robinson (knee)

Questionable
RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder)

New Orleans Saints Injuries


Out
LB Danell Ellerbe (quadricep), RB Daniel Lasco (hamstring), LB James Laurinaitis (quadricep)

Questionable
LB Stephone Anthony (hamstring), T Terron Armstead (knee), CB Delvin Breaux (fibula), WR Jake Lampman (knee), CB Sterling Moore (abdomen)

Game Averages (Rank)


Saints 49ers
28.7 (2nd)
Offense Pts
20.6 (22nd)
415.0 (2nd)
Offense Yds
290.0 (32nd)
326.9 (1st)
Offense Pass
161.4 (32nd)
88.1 (25th)
Offense Rush
128.6 (4th)
30.7 (31st)
Defense Pts Allowed
31.3 (32nd)
397.4 (28th)
Defense Yds Allowed
407.6 (30th)
286.7 (29th)
Defense Pass Allowed
222.4 (7th)
110.7 (18th)
Defense Rush Allowed
185.1 (32nd)

Individual Statistics


Team Leaders
Passing Comp Yds TD INT
Drew Brees, NO 69.5 2366 18 5
Blaine Gabbert, SF 58 890 5 6
Rushing Car Yds Avg TD
Mark Ingram, NO 89 339 3.8 1
Carlos Hyde, SF 109 429 3.9 6
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TD
Brandin Cooks, NO 36 530 14.7 5
Jeremy Kerley, SF 30 331 11 2

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