San Francisco enters week 9 coming off their bye. The 49ers have lost six games in a row and things will not get easier on Sunday when they face Drew Brees and the high powered Saints offense. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick gets the start once again, but could be replaced by Christian Ponder if he doesn’t produce against a susceptible Saints defense. Whoever plays quarterback today and the rest of the season, the 49ers will be selecting a quarterback in the 2017 draft. Can they win today? Here are the staff predictions by the 49ers writers:
The 49ers should be well rested and rejuvenated Sunday afternoon, coming off a much needed bye week after their sixth straight loss. But a week off won’t solve the many problems San Francisco has been experiencing this season, problems the rolling New Orleans Saints will look to exploit. Colin Kaepernick has won two of his last three battles against the Saints, and will need to continue that success by improving his 46% pass completion rate and taking advantage of a weak Saints defense when given room to run. Kaepernick’s pass accuracy could make or break the game for San Francisco, as he will need to make up for the probable loss of Carlos Hyde to injury and return of Saints star cornerback Delvin Breaux. This should be a high-scoring game, but the fate of this matchup lies with the defensive squad that can hold on for 60 minutes. Both teams have struggled defensively this season, and the 49ers are particularly weak against the run game. With Rashard Robinson and NaVorro Bowman remaining on the bench, there is little hope for San Francisco’s defense against a fiery Drew Brees and his group of experienced receivers. Unless the 49ers can figure out how to limit New Orleans offensively, nothing that Kaepernick and the offense come up with will bring the 49ers a victory anytime soon.
Saints 42 49ers 20
This game comes down to a few things for me. Can the 49ers get pressure on Drew Brees? Most likely no, because the teams best pass rusher Aaron Lynch isn’t playing. Will the team be able to move the ball consistently on offense? I do think there is some chance with two weeks preparation, Chip Kelly could put together a good game plan. The team will likely be without Carlos Hyde, but Kaepernick has got a tiny bit better each week. If the 49ers want to win this game, they must limit big plays and convert on 3rd down. As I analyze those things, I think the 49ers will have some fight in them today. Unfortunately I don’t think its enough and the 49ers lose a close game.
Saints 24 49ers 20