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View Poll Results: Who will win between the Saints at the Niners
New Orleans 29 61.70%
San Francisco 18 38.30%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-08-2012, 01:32 AM    (permalink
Caulibflower
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I can see the 49ers holding onto the ball long enough to take take the sting out of the Saints' offense, and I also think their defense will be able to make a few stops. The Saints are better overall, but I think this is a disciplined 49ers team and a really talented defense, and that's what you need to beat the Saints. Really, it's just going to come down to whether or not Alex Smith can make the plays he needs to make, because I think this is a pretty even matchup. You're talking about the league's best D going against the league's best offense. It's going to be fun to watch. I anticipate a good football game.
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:24 AM    (permalink
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The 49ers have one of the most athletically gifted and disciplined defenses in the league, it should be interesting to see them clash with the hot NO offense. I think there are going to be more than a couple great matchups when it comes to those sides of the ball clashing. I wonder if they'll put Willis on Graham as I think he might be athletic enough to actually shut him down. I doubt that the Saints will have anywhere close to the success they had in the screen/running game against the 49ers, because the 49ers are pretty solid tacklers overall, plus with Willis/Bowman there I can't see those ILBs wiffing on tackles that gave the Saints second life. That secondary isn't the best in the league but Rogers is playing really well, as is Goldson, and they are at least disciplined so I can't see them leaving huge gaps in their coverage for Brees to exploit. Aldon Smith is one of the most effective pass rushing OLB in the league and with the Saints passing a lot (I really think their run game is going to get shut down by this stellar run defense) he might be in for a big game.

But if the Saints do take the lead which very well might happen given the big play ability they have, I can see them forcing the 49ers to execute an offensive gameplan that really isn't to their favor. Alex Smith in a playoff game is going to be very interesting.

The differences in the nature of the teams is going to make this game incredibly interesting I think.
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:01 AM    (permalink
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I think the 49ers win! The saints have proved they're not that good on tthe road by losing to the Rams, Packers and Bucs. Yes, the saints lost to the Bucs.

I dont really know why people are thinking the Saints are going to beat the 49ers away and then beat the Packers away.
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:58 AM    (permalink
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What is the recipe to beating the Saints?
Well, from their losses to the Rams, and the Bucs, THIS season on the road, it's pressure on Brees, and it's DB's catching the football.
In those 2 losses, he was sacked and pressured quite a bit (Chris Long says hello), and he threw 5 interceptions.

He might have had 3 interceptions last night if the Lions DB's had dipped their arms into some Lester Hayes-branded syrup before the game.

Can the Niners interior, along with Aldon Smith, get enough pressure on Brees?

Can the Niners defense make SOME STOPS on 3rd downs? The Lions couldn't. Third & long, it didn't matter last night.

And can the Niners keep the game close long enough so they don't have to change their offensive MO?
That team is not good enough in the passing game to come from way behind.... they need to keep the Saints from quick long touchdowns and force them to settle for FGs on their drives.

I think Frank Gore and Vernon Davis are the keys.
If the Niners win, I can see Gore with around 25-30 carries for 130 yards (almost like Arian Foster yesterday, but not quite), and see Vernon Davis with 10 catches for 140. He needs to hit a big play or 2, and he's capable for sure.

I will watch this weather forecast closely.. as I will in Green Bay for the visit from Eli or Matt Ice.

Weather is always a factor in those 2 stadiums this time of the year, unlike in New Orleans or Indianapolis.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:14 AM    (permalink
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For my Niners, it will come down to how will Alex Smith and the O-Line handle the blitz. Blitz pick-up has been the achilles heel of our offense all season. No QB was sacked more than Alex Smith. Dr. Heat(Gregg Williams) will throw every blitz package he has against our offense and the question will be how well does the O-Line block and how quick will Alex's decision-making be? He has to get rid of the ball fast and accurately. He hasn't really done that all year really against the blitz. It will need to happen Sat.

On defense, because the Saints O-Line is so effective at chipping edge rushers, I dont see Aldon Smith having a big day. And we like to play alot of zone, which is a no-no verus the Saints. So Fangio will have to bring some exotic looks to the table and actually bring the blitz more than he has at any point this year. We can't just rush four, as Brees will just step up and throw darts on those seam routes. We will have to press more and disguise coverages but most importantly we will have to bring pressure in the face of Brees. Stunts, zero gap blitzes, even some well timed CB blitzes to break-up the timing of that offense. Defense should pratice at a faster pace this week to mirror how the Saints get in and out of the huddle so quickly.

One thing I do think favors us is the Saints haven't faced a defense as discplined and as sound as we are. Most teams have a hard time just getting lined-up correctly verus the Saints. We have guys that know their assignments and guys who dont play outside the scheme. The Lions had breakdowns in assignments that were crucial last night. We dont normally have those problems. That bodes well when facing a offense like the Saints. We have sure tacklers(except for Goldson) and guys that don't drop ints so if Brees gets reckless with the ball, we have guys who should captialize on those. And most importantly, we lead the league in takeaways, so we have guys who make splash plays and give our offense extra posessions. We'll need them to continue that trend against Brees &Co.

The biggest problem will be Sproles. Graham will get his. The WRs will make some plays. But there is no answer defensively for Sproles. As good of ILBs as we have, I wouldnt dare think they could keep up with Sproles. He is the x-factor for that offense and being able to get them off the field on 3rd downs.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:10 AM    (permalink
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Only way the 49ers will lose this game if the referees hand the game to the Saints just like they did last night.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:20 AM    (permalink
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Is Willis 100% yet? Another thing is the Saints have trouble with TE's right?
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:30 AM    (permalink
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Is Willis 100% yet? Another thing is the Saints have trouble with TE's right?
Yes Willis is 100%
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:55 AM    (permalink
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Can't wait for this game

Right now my gut still says to go with the Saints in this match-up.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:05 PM    (permalink
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Only way the 49ers will lose this game if the referees hand the game to the Saints just like they did last night.
Or they just outplay the 49ers. The Lions defense was God-awful last night. Couldn't stop the run, and couldn't stop the pass. Maybe there were a couple of calls here or there, but it's not like it would have changed the outcome of the game. The Saints still would have won. Even if you get the Lions that one touchdown.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:37 PM    (permalink
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Only way the 49ers will lose this game if the referees hand the game to the Saints just like they did last night.
Because 5 second half TD's were all gift wrapped presents from the refs, weren't they.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:40 PM    (permalink
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Because 5 second half TD's were all gift wrapped presents from the refs, weren't they.
duh, they should have thrown the flag for excessive TDing.
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Old 01-08-2012, 03:20 PM    (permalink
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The 49ers have one of the most athletically gifted and disciplined defenses in the league, it should be interesting to see them clash with the hot NO offense. I think there are going to be more than a couple great matchups when it comes to those sides of the ball clashing. I wonder if they'll put Willis on Graham as I think he might be athletic enough to actually shut him down. I doubt that the Saints will have anywhere close to the success they had in the screen/running game against the 49ers, because the 49ers are pretty solid tacklers overall, plus with Willis/Bowman there I can't see those ILBs wiffing on tackles that gave the Saints second life. That secondary isn't the best in the league but Rogers is playing really well, as is Goldson, and they are at least disciplined so I can't see them leaving huge gaps in their coverage for Brees to exploit. Aldon Smith is one of the most effective pass rushing OLB in the league and with the Saints passing a lot (I really think their run game is going to get shut down by this stellar run defense) he might be in for a big game.

But if the Saints do take the lead which very well might happen given the big play ability they have, I can see them forcing the 49ers to execute an offensive gameplan that really isn't to their favor. Alex Smith in a playoff game is going to be very interesting.

The differences in the nature of the teams is going to make this game incredibly interesting I think.
The screen/short pass game is going to be the big difference, as the 49ers have terrific linebackers. Pierre Thomas isn't going to be breaking tackles like he was agains the Lions, and it's going to be a lot harder in general to run after the catch on those short throws. The deep throws I think will still be dangerous, but taking away the short stuff is definitely going to affect the Saint's offensive strategy.
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:32 PM    (permalink
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49ers fans have convinced themselves that the Saints are the same team as last year's playoff team. It's kinda cute.
Well..... seems pretty similar to me.
Dome team loses outdoors at underdog NFC West team.
Season ends.
Pretty QB and passing team loses to inferior QB.
Excuses made.
Season's still over.

Congrats to the 18 of you who realized that things would be different outdoors than inside, despite it being nicer than usual there this time of year. 18 picked SF... hopefully some of you wagered some $ on them as well.

I'd been looking forward to this game for a long time.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:14 PM    (permalink
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Am I the only one who has thought about how interesting it would be to see Alex Smith vs Rodgers in the NFC championship game? The two argued picks for #1 overall. How sexy would that be? I'm rooting for GB purely for the fact that it would be the most interesting story line I've seen in a very long time.


Alex Smith earned a new respect for me today. The Niners won with their defense in the 1st half, and Alex Smith won it in the 2nd half. Who would have thought he could lead 2 TD drives that late in the game when they HAD to have them?


How about the play-calling from Harbaugh? It's truly amazing how disciplined, well coached, and physical this team is. That all stems from the head coach.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:18 PM    (permalink
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The play calling from Harbaugh was terrible today. It almost cost them the win.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:23 PM    (permalink
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The play calling from Harbaugh was terrible today. It almost cost them the win.
Yes. And the third downs were God-awful. That has to get better.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:50 PM    (permalink
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Greg Roman calls the plays.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:05 PM    (permalink
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The play calling from Harbaugh was terrible today. It almost cost them the win.
Maybe I was thinking more about the end of the game, come to think about it they were stalling quite a bit early on. But the call where Alex Smith ran the ball in with Staley pulling on 3rd and 7 I thought was brilliant, and the last drive as well. Then again, wasn't sure who was calling the plays either.
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I guarantee that if someone picks Cam Newton in the Top 5 they will regret it.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:06 PM    (permalink
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Maybe I was thinking more about the end of the game, come to think about it they were stalling quite a bit early on. But the call where Alex Smith ran the ball in with Staley pulling on 3rd and 7 I thought was brilliant, and the last drive as well. Then again, wasn't sure who was calling the plays either.
Yeah that's very true, the Smith call was excellent. I just wasn't a fan of all the passes when the run was working so well. They almost outsmarted themselves.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:08 PM    (permalink
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Am I the only one who has thought about how interesting it would be to see Alex Smith vs Rodgers in the NFC championship game? The two argued picks for #1 overall. How sexy would that be? I'm rooting for GB purely for the fact that it would be the most interesting story line I've seen in a very long time.
The fact that Rodgers already got his Super Bowl takes away from that quite a bit.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:14 PM    (permalink
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The fact that Rodgers already got his Super Bowl takes away from that quite a bit.
Well Rodgers is a much better QB so that's not surprising, but still. Both were disputed #1 picks in the same draft, and now they could face off for a chance to go to the SB. I don't think that's happened too often. I'd feel the same with a Rivers vs Eli SB or anything along those lines.


I just think it would be interesting to see them face off in such a meaningful game.
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I guarantee that if someone picks Cam Newton in the Top 5 they will regret it.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:16 PM    (permalink
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Rodgers and Smith haven't really been linked with each other the same way as other quarterbacks from the same draft class. That and the vast gap in success between the two really takes away from that storyline.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:19 PM    (permalink
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Greg Roman calls the plays.
No I think Harbaugh calls a lot of them himself too. It's not just all Roman.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:24 PM    (permalink
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No I think Harbaugh calls a lot of them himself too. It's not just all Roman.
Shouldn't you be out partying?
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