Week 11/Game 10: San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints

When: Sunday, November 17th at 1:20 pm PT (3:20 pm CT)

Where: Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana

TV: FOX (About 70 percent of the USA)

Northern/Central California: KTVU 2 San Francisco; KTXL 40 Sacramento; KMPH 26 Fresno; KCVU 20 Chico/Redding; KBVU 28 Eureka

Southern Louisiana: WVUE 8 New Orleans; WGMB 44 Baton Rouge

Direct TV Sunday Ticket: Channel 714

Announcers:  Joe Buck, Troy Aikman

49ers Are Looking To Rebound In the "Big Easy"- The 49ers though nine games of the 2013 NFL season find themselves with a 6-3 record. In a lot of situations this would not be a bad thing. There are several NFL teams right now that would even trade places with them if they were given the opportunity to do so. The problem however is that with a 6-3 mark, the 49ers are 2 ½ game behind the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West Divison with seven games remaining. When you consider the remainder of the Seahawks schedule is very favorable towards them, only then do you see the depth of the mountain the 49ers must climb if they have any aspirations of winning the NFC this season. This aspirations took a huge blow last Sunday as the 49ers offense was completely shut down by the number two rated defense in the league in the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers 10-9 win may have been close in terms of the score, but the 49ers offense was beaten very decisively and to a degree easily by the Panthers defense. Once Vernon Davis was knocked out of the game, the end zone basically was closed. With the 49ers passing attack now ranked last in the NFL (even behind Jacksonville statistically), there are things that are going to need to be done if the 49ers are going to see the post season at all. Part of the reason is that you have to give defensive co-ordinators their due here because they have certainly drawn up some good game plans and did their homework. The 49ers despite missing some key players such as Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham have managed through nine games however in the three losses have only scored a combined 19 points. Offensive co-ordinator Greg Roman and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh need to make some major adjustments for the 49ers offense to succeed against the more elite teams if they have any plans of playing well into January, otherwise they’ll be golfing in Palm Springs instead. As for the New Orleans Saints, this is probably the second toughest road game any NFL team could play outside of Seattle. The Saints are a strong team to begin with. In the Superdome this season they are unbeaten and know how to take care of business. When Head Coach Sean Peyton returned from his season long suspension last year, he brought the Saints swagger back with him. The 49ers unquestionably will have their hands full on Sunday. The Saints also have the NFL’s 5th rated defense overall which means the 49ers will need to be much better Sunday on offense and find ways to move the ball, something that simply didn’t happen last week.

Saints Offense vs 49ers Defense- Drew Brees and the Saints offense are a team that simply put can score on any down anywhere on the field at any time. The only true weakness the Saints really have is that their running game is ranked 23rd overall, yet their offensive unit is ranked second only behind the Denver Broncos. Brees has a wide variety of receivers he can get the ball to such as Jimmy Graham, Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Kenny Stills, Benjamin Watson and out of the backfield Darren Sproles. The 49ers will undoubtably have their greatest challenge of the season in front of the all game long. Patrick Willis, NoVarro Bowman, Ahman Brooks and company will need to be ready for almost anything and everything. At the same time, the Saints are all facing a challenge here to because the 49ers are bringing to the table the toughest defense New Orleans has seen all season. Overall the 49ers are ranked 4th in total points allow and are in the top 10 in rushing and passing defense. With Eric Reid likely not to play because of a concussion, players such as Dante Whitner, Tramaine Brock, Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers and more will need to step up their games to keep the 49ers in this match. Aldon Smith will need to be on top of his game too. If he is it will make a huge difference for the 49ers.

49ers Offense vs Saints Defense- The good news for the 49ers is that maybe in someways the Panthers did the red and gold a huge favor. The 49ers now understand that top notch game planning cannot take a day off especially when you are going up against top notch teams. It’s not to say the 49ers failed to prepare against Carolina, but clearly they had no answers when it came down to crunch time. The 49ers now are taking on a Saints defense that will have all the encouragement of 70,000 plus at a very loud opposing dome stadium. The 49ers clearly must find a way to effectively get the ball to key receivers such as Anquan Boldin, Mario Manningham, and Vernon Davis (if he plays). Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James also may need to be involved in the receiving corps as well in being able to come out of the backfield (in the same way Darren Sproles does it for the Saints offense). Getting a good running game going will be key too. If the 49ers can move the ball on the ground the passing game will have a decent chance to produce. If the 49ers however can’t get results in a ground based game and Colin Kaepernick gets flushed out of the pocket often as was the case against Carolina, he and the 49ers will have another long and unproductive day. With the Saints ranked 23rd in rushing yards allowed it stands to reason that the 49ers should be able to get a ground game going. With the Saints defense ranked third against the pass, this will be essential. Curtis Lofton, Kenny Vaccaro, David Hawthorne, Malcolm Jenkins and Jabari Greer are amongst the Saints defensive unit leaders with over 200 tackles combined amongst them.

Kingshark Line Prediction- The 49ers need this game to keep pace with the NFC West leading Seahawks. The Saints also need this game to keep ahead of the Carolina Panthers who are challenging them for the NFC South. The Saints have been clearly the better football as of late however will get a formidable challenge from the 49ers defense. However there remains the question of the 49ers offense being able to challenge the Saints fifth rated defense... Kingshark Line: Saints 24 49ers 17 ... First, We sincerely hope we are wrong here. We hope the 49ers prove us wrong too. The Saints in the Superdome are a huge undertaking for any team (and would be for Seattle too). For the 49ers to get this game the offense needs to find ways to put tougher effective drives and spell the defense. The 49ers defense is fine, however there are several questions about the 49ers offense regarding the passing game. Maybe too many questions this time around. Maybe this will in some ways hopefully light a fire under the 49ers.

The Kingshark

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