Standout 49ers defensive end Justin Smith has a healthy respect for the Saints offense.
He says guards Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans are the toughest group he’ll face all year. Smith says the Saints uniquely keep opponents guessing with play calls because of their underrated running game.
The key, in Smith’s eyes, is to get pressure on Drew Brees without losing sight of the game plan.
“It always comes down to blocking, tackling and catching the football,” Smith said via the San Jose Mercury News. “They’re not Houdini out there. They can’t run one way and go the other.”
(Don’t give Sean Payton any ideas.)
The Titans did a very nice job against the Saints by shortening the game and doing exactly what Smith said. They played fundamental football, held the Saints to 22 points, and had a chance to win in the closing seconds.
New Orleans has averaged 25.8 points-per-game on grass this year and 38.6 points in domes.
“If we just go out there and play sound football, we’ll be alright,” Smith said.
We think he’s right. The 49ers defense is good enough to slow down the Saints attack.
The game may rest more on Alex Smith handling the Saints’ blitzes and creating a little magic of his own.