San Francisco 49ers PK @ New Orleans Saints – Week 12 Preview and Prediction
Perhaps it is premature to say, but the San Francisco 49ers (7-2) appear to have a new starting quarterback in sophomore pro Colin Kaepernick. As of Saturday evening former #1 QB Alex Smith has been cleared to play but is still not listed as the staring pivot. Kaepernick dismantled the vaunted Chicago Bears defense in his first NFL start last Monday night going 16-23 with 243 yards and two touchdowns. He found tight end Vernon Davis six times for 83 yards and 1 TD.
Kaepernick will be facing a resurgent New Orleans team (5-5) that has won three straight and five of six after opening the season and 0-4. The Saints are looking for revenge in a rematch of the 2011-12 NFC Wild Card game where they suffered a tight loss (36-32) at Candlestick Park.
New Orleans’ passing game has been its usual consistent self all season, with Drew Brees leading the league with 28 TD passes and his 306.6 yards per game ranking second. Now that he is receiving support from the run game, Brees’ offense looks much more balanced and customarily formidable. The Saints have scampered for 140-plus yards in three straight despite the absence of Darren Sproles (broken hand). They only ran for 100 once in the first seven outings.
The other side of the ball is looking much more shaky in the Big Easy these days. Never the most stable unit under suspended head coach Sean Payton, the Saints’ defense has struggled this year without their leader on the sideline. They have allowed a minimum of 400 yards in all 10 games, but have held the opposition to an average of 19.0 points in three games this month after allowing 30.9 through October.
They will face Frank Gore and the NFL’s top rushing offense, with the former University of Miami (Florida) feature-back averaging 83.1 of San Francisco’s 165.3 yards per game.
The Saints have won the last six regular-season meetings, but the 49ers came away with one of the more memorable playoff triumphs in recent memory (YouTube Vernon Davis crying vs Saints…hilarious).
San Francisco 49ers PK @ New Orleans Saints (betting prediction)
Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers football team is hitting its stride at the right time. The inexperienced second-year pro Kaepernick had his way with a truly elite NFL defense in the Bears last week, and there is no reason to think they will be slowed down by a porous Saints defense.
The numbers don’t look great in the series for the City by the Bay:
New Orleans is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing at home against San Francisco; San Francisco is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 games when playing New Orleans; New Orleans is 1-1 straight up against SAN FRANCISCO over the last 3 seasons; BUT San Francisco is 18-5-2 SU in its last 25 games and 2-0 ATS against the Saints over the past 3 seasons.
The Saints have perhaps the biggest home field advantage in the NFL, but they are facing a 49ers defense that can straight up smack you in the mouth and take the crowd out of the game from the outset.
49ers win by 6 with a final of 30-24.
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NFL Record: 7-3