Week 14 Saints vs 49ers Game Preview

On Sunday, the New Orleans Saints will play one of their biggest games of the year. New Orleans (10-2) will be at home to play the San Francisco 49ers (10-2) in a battle that will significantly impact the NFC playoff seeding. After clinching a playoff spot and another NFC South division title last week, the Saints will now be setting their sights on home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Key Injuries

Saints
Creator: Derick E. Hingle
Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints will be missing four key players on Sunday: guard Andrus Peat, fullback Zach Line, and linebackers A.J. Klein and Kiko Alonso. During the week, New Orleans signed Manti Te’o to help out a depleted linebacking corps. Star tackle, Terron Armstead, is questionable for the game. Without Armstead and Peat on the line to protect Brees, they will have a challenging task in stopping the 49ers’ pass rush.

The 49ers have a long list of players questionable for Sunday’s game but expect most to play. Out of all the guys who popped up on the injury report during the week, wide receiver, Marquise Goodwin, and star tackle, Joe Staley, were the only two who were limited Friday.

Saints
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San Francisco has one of the most dominant position groups in all of football. Nick Bosa, a leading candidate for defensive rookie of the year, and Arik Armstead have combined for 18 sacks and three forced fumbles on the season. Linebacker, Fred Warner, is coming off a strong month of November, garnering defensive player of the month honors.

Critical Matchups

There will be critical matchups heading all over the field on Sunday. Both teams have an imposing pass rush and strong members in the secondary. One of my favorite matchups to watch will be Michael Thomas against the 49ers secondary. Whether Richard Sherman shadows Thomas or not, Thomas will be a significant factor when determining the outcome of this game. There hasn’t been a true number two receiver step up opposite Thomas all year.

The biggest battle of the night will be in the trenches. The 49ers are number one in the NFL in total yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and are second in points allowed and sacks. The Saints are third in the league in rushing yards allowed and fourth in sacks.

My Prediction

The team that wins in the trenches will have the best chance to win the game. The home crowd will be loud and cause confusion in the huddle for the 49ers. The Saints can slow down the potent rushing attack of San Francisco in a low-scoring, defensive showdown.

Saints win 23-20


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