San Francisco will take on the New Orleans Saints at home this Saturday at 4:30 PM ET. The game will be the first playoff game the 49ers will have hosted in nearly a decade. A look at the game pits a strong 49er defense against an explosive Saints offense and a first time coach for San Fran against a Super Bowl winning coach in New Orleans. A closer look at the statistics for both teams, however, shows that the game may be more that meets the eye.
First off, offensively, New Orleans is certainly elite to San Francisco. The Saints average 467 total yards a game compared to just 310 from the 49ers. 334 of these yards are through the air, which is where New Orleans triumphs. Oddly enough, though, the rushing games are much closer then many would think. San Francisco is actually even less productive per game on the ground compared to the Saints gaining 127 yards per game compared to 132 by the Saints. On top of this, the Saints also get 2 scores more a game than the 49ers as they average 34 points a game compared to just 23 from San Francisco’s offense.
Hopefully the defense will be enough to help slow down a tough Saints offense, but the numbers are closer then many would think. In terms of total yards New Orleans gives up just 60 more yards then the Niners. They give up just a little over 100 yards on the ground, which is the biggest strength of San Francisco who gives up just 77 yards per game. Hopefully the points per game differential will help San Francisco stay close in the game. So far this season, San Fran gives up an average of 14 points a game compared to 21 a game given up by the Saints.
The game will certainly show if defense or offense wins championships.