Two vital questions!!!!!
Can the Saints D hold the Niners to under 28 points?
Vital because if you take the average of our road score versus the inflated home score it comes out somewhere around 27 points. It may still take more than that to win. But you get the picture
How smart is Jonathan Goodwin?
It is often said that the smartest person on a team is not the QB, but the center. He was our center when we were at our best. Different pieces, but mostly the same scheme. No doubt with two weeks to prepare Jim Harbarugh has picked and prodded the inner most reaches of Goodwin to provide incite into how to stop the Saints offense?
Here's some stats on our defense compared with SFs offense:
SF Passing Yds 29th
NO Opp Passing Yds 16th
SF Rushing Yds 8th
NO Opp Rushing Yds 12th ( Our run defense has also greatly improved in the last half of the season. )
NO 3rd Down Conv. 56.7%
SF 3rd Down Conv. 29.4%
NO Sacks Achieved 33
SF Sacks Allowed 44 YDLS 263
NO D. Interceptions Taken 9 ( does not include game against Lions )
SF O. Interceptions Given 5
NO Fumbles 3
SF Fumbles 5
On paper at least, this game looks pretty good --- for us.
Also, we have more experience in NFL playoff games than they do from their coach down. We are a seasoned team on a very hot winning streak.
We should be fine.
You said Goodwin was with us at our best (meaning 2009). I think it is very debatable whether offensively that was our best season. Defensively, we were better at takeaways. Drew threw 3 less interceptions. I think a strong argument could be made that offensively, this is the Saints best season ever. Our offense does rank #1 in the league in total yards and passing yards. Our O-line ranks #5. The Saints offense led the league by converting 56.7% of their third downs this season. The figure is the highest since the league started charting third-down conversion rates in 1991. It’s almost 20 percentage points higher than the league average (38%) this season and well ahead of the second best team, San Diego at 48.8%.
The defense this season isn't as ball hawking "flashy" as 2009 -- but they are getting the job done. We rank 12th in the league giving up 21.2 ppg. We are 16th in the league in defending the run giving up 108.6 ypg.
With a stellar offense, our defense tends to give up some points and alot of yards between the 20s. We are ranked 28th in red zone defense. But, in the last third of our season, our red zone defense has stiffened.
If you like stats, here is an article that compares the Saints and the 49ers.
Saints-49ers: Strength against strength - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN
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