5 Reasons Why The Saints Will Win/Lose On Sunday
The New Orleans Saints return to action this Sunday, and it’s time to take a look at five reasons why they will win, and five reasons why they will lose.
The Saints, who are currently 3-4 on the year, will be on the road to take on the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Kickoff time is scheduled for 3:05 pm.
5 Reasons The Saints Will Win:
1)—Drew Brees: Brees leads the NFL in passing yards-per-game, averaging 338.0, and is coming off a game against the Seattle Seahawks in which he threw for 265 yards and a touchdown. Seattle has one of the better defenses in the league, but Brees was outstanding, as he's been all year. San Francisco ranks 8th in the NFL, in terms of fewest passing yards allowed, giving up 222.4 pass yards-per-game, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that their rush defense is so bad. If you can run it, why throw it? With games against Rams, Panthers, Seahawks, Cowboys, Cardinals, Bills, and Buccaneers, the 49ers have not faced many good passing offenses either. The exceptions would be the Panthers, who threw for 353 yards, and the Seahawks, who threw for 291 yards. Brees having another big day throwing the football would not be a surprise.
2)—San Francisco Rush Defense: The 49ers are allowing 185.1 rushing yards-per-game, which ranks dead last in the NFL. Not only that, but it's the worse by far, about 41 yards more per game than Cleveland, who ranks 31st. Tim Hightower had a good day against Seattle last Sunday, rushing for 102 yards, and you just have to believe that rush yards against the 49ers are going to be a lot easier to come by. Being able to run the football would open up the Saints' passing attack even more, and could make it a potentially long day for the entire San Francisco defense.
3)—San Francisco Lack Of Playmakers: The Saints rank second in the league, averaging 28.7 points-per-game, while the 49ers rank 23rd, averaging 20.6 points a contest. The Saints have been held under 20 points only once this year, while the 49ers have failed to reach 20 points on four occasions. The Saints should have scoring opportunities, taking on a San Francisco which has given up the most points in the NFL, and that's after shutting out the Rams on opening week.
4)---49ers Lack Of Pass Rush: San Francisco has only 13 quarterback sacks this season, which ranks tied for the 6th fewest in the league. That wouldn't be so bad if they didn't give up so many yards on the ground, but unfortunately, for them, they do. DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead are the biggest threats on the line to get to Brees, but he should have time to throw.
5)—Giveaway/Takaway: The Saints come into the match-up even in giveaway/takeaway margin, while the 49ers are minus-2. Turnovers are always a great equalizer, and the Saints will absolutely have to protect the ball to win, but they aren't taking on a team that is know for creating a lot of turnovers, while protecting the ball themselves.
5 Reason the Saints Won’t Win:
1)—Injuries: Sure, every team suffers their share of injuries, but the Saints have had more than their share. Most of the year, they’ve been without the services of defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, and cornerbacks Delvin Breaux and P.J. Williams, while offensive lineman Terron Armstead missed three-straight games before returning two weeks ago. He's back, but Ellerbe may be out again, after playing last week, so they're getting healthier, but are still short-handed.
2)—Chances Are The Game Will Come Down To One Play: Okay, New Orleans has played 7 games so far this season, and 6 have been decided by 6 points or less. The Saints are good enough to hang in there with almost anybody, but not good enough to blow out most teams. Chances are, this game is going to come down to a couple of plays, and if that happens, anything can happen.
3)---49ers Are Rested: San Francisco is coming off of a bye week, while the Saints have to travel to the west coast. Make no mistake, that's a big deal. 49ers running back Carlos Hyde, who is a good one, and could give the Saints a lot of issues, had an extra week to heal up his injured shoulder, while his teammates had two weeks to stew over 6-straight losses, just aching for a chance to win a game. Meanwhile, the Saints have to make the long plane flight to the west coast, after an emotional win over the Seahawks.
4)---San Francisco Is Due To Win: The 49ers have lost 6-consecutive games, which is the second longest current losing streak in the NFL (Cleveland is at 8 games). This is the NFL, a league of parity, and any winning streak or losing streak of more than 3 games is due to be snapped.
5)—It's November: Sunday will mark the first game for the Saints in the month of November, and that's big, because it's November has not been kind to them over the past couple of years. September and November haven't been kind. The Saints have lost 7-consecutive September games, dating back to 2014, and have gone 1-9 over their last 10 games in September, including an 0-3 mark this year. On the other hand, the Saints have been pretty good in October, going 12-4 over the last three seasons, including a 4-1 October record a season ago, after an 0-3 start, as well as a 3-1 record this year, following another 0-3 start. November? Well, the Saints went 1-3 in November in each of the last two seasons. This year, they're 3-4, after an 0-3 start. Last year, after an 0-3 start, they were 3-4. They did win, to move to 4-4, but lost their next four games, and were eliminated from playoff contention. They simply have to play better at this time of year.