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49ers-Saints provides ultimate contrast in styles

San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

The most fascinating game of the weekend is up first.

The Saints and 49ers will be on the same field, but they play very different games.

My column for NBCSports.com this week focuses on the matchup between two teams that seemingly come from different eras of football. I also look at the players with the most to gain and lose this weekend, and the matchups to watch.

Check it out. Or don’t and don’t tell me. I won’t really know the difference.

Permalink 56 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, New Orleans Saints, Rumor Mill, San Francisco 49ers
56 Responses to “49ers-Saints provides ultimate contrast in styles”
  1. burnitinthestreet says: Jan 13, 2012 6:28 PM

    We would be talking about 49ers/Lions if the Lions had won last week.

  2. norcalmafia says: Jan 13, 2012 6:34 PM

    Should be a great game..Saints have a great offense but the Niners have the better overall team..Game goes down to last drive..31-28 Niners……I have a feeling we might see “the catch” pt 3 to end it….

  3. natelan69 says: Jan 13, 2012 6:38 PM

    It’s not the 1950’s anymore. This is a passing league.

    R.I.P. the 2012 49’ers.

  4. rajuncajun28 says: Jan 13, 2012 6:48 PM

    Niners DO NOT have the overall better team….what an idiot…saints win this comfortably….fact….niners are frauds and will be exposed…..the left coast delusion continues….

  5. nineroutsider says: Jan 13, 2012 7:00 PM

    burnitinthestreet says: Jan 13, 2012 6:28 PM

    We would be talking about 49ers/Lions if the Lions had won last week.
    ——————————————————–
    No Gomer, you would be talking about Packers/Lions. When you post a useless comment make sure it is at least right!

  6. jaylaw344 says: Jan 13, 2012 7:04 PM

    Hey dunce-cap it’s the 2011 niners. Further, Brees lost to the rams and Tampa bay on the road. Dome teams can’t play on grass. Niners 14 saints 7

  7. nineroutsider says: Jan 13, 2012 7:05 PM

    Saints fans…enjoy your last day of complete arrogance. You will be humbled tomorrow.

  8. broncosfan29 says: Jan 13, 2012 7:07 PM

    if the Lions had won last week they would be playing the packers. not the 49ers. get your facts straight

  9. natelan69 says: Jan 13, 2012 7:12 PM

    jaylaw344 says: Jan 13, 2012 7:04 PM

    Hey dunce-cap it’s the 2011 niners. Further, Brees lost to the rams and Tampa bay on the road. Dome teams can’t play on grass. Niners 14 saints 7

    ——————————–

    So I made a typo… No need to be rude.

    Yes, I meant the 2011 49’ers, not 2012.

    Besides, I am totally rooting for the 49’ers to win, I just happen to think they don’t stand a snowball’s chance.

  10. vikescry1 says: Jan 13, 2012 7:13 PM

    niners 14 and saints 7? i’m not a fan of either but, i think the saints pull this one out in the end on a last second field goal… imo

  11. ilovefoolsball says: Jan 13, 2012 7:25 PM

    There are going to be a lot of really depressed 9ers fans if they don’t win tomorrow.

    If the Saints lose I won’t be surprised because of all of the factors listed: outdoors, good defense, ball control offense.

    The only way I see the Saints winning this game is if they can run the ball and get to the endzone two consecutive times in a row early.

    If they can do that they will put a lot of pressure on the 9ers to feel like they have to keep pace, which of course no one can with the Saints.

    I think that this will be one of those games that you will be able to tell very early who the victor will be by how the first two or three possessions go for either team.

    If the Saints are getting shut down early it could be a long day for them.

    If the 9ers defense can’t stop Brees it could be an even longer day for the guy who runs the scoreboard.

  12. forever8young says: Jan 13, 2012 7:26 PM

    natelan69 says: Jan 13, 2012 7:12 PM

    jaylaw344 says: Jan 13, 2012 7:04 PM

    Hey dunce-cap it’s the 2011 niners. Further, Brees lost to the rams and Tampa bay on the road. Dome teams can’t play on grass. Niners 14 saints 7

    ——————————–

    So I made a typo… No need to be rude.

    Yes, I meant the 2011 49′ers, not 2012.

    Besides, I am totally rooting for the 49′ers to win, I just happen to think they don’t stand a snowball’s chance.

    =================================

    To quote the great Shooter McGavin:

    “I eat POS like you for breakfast”

  13. phelbin says: Jan 13, 2012 7:37 PM

    One aspect that very few seem to be talking about is that the best defense in the NFC (maybe NFL) has been hearing all week how they have no chance against the Saints. They’re even the underdog at home…the ultimate disrespect. This means that a very scary defense has extra motivation to pound the Saints into the ground tomorrow.

    It doesn’t matter than the Niners wouldn’t win a shootout, because this game won’t be a shootout. The Niners will control the clock, control field position, and pound the football against a much weaker defense. Their opponents have averaged 11 pts at Candlestick. And their defense will be extra mean tomorrow! The score will be low…and the Niners will win.

  14. trbowman says: Jan 13, 2012 7:38 PM

    Alex Smith plays quarterback for the 9ers.

    Therefore, 9ers lose.

  15. igetlaidmorethanyou says: Jan 13, 2012 7:45 PM

    Also a contrast in styles–the fans. I’ve been to 14 NFL stadiums in neutral clothes. SF has by far the worst fans out there. Near riots in the stands and sh—tings in the bathrooms. You get pushed, shoved, cussed at… and that’s when they win. NO had great party people. Stay classy ‘Frisco.

  16. rihks says: Jan 13, 2012 8:00 PM

    rajuncajun28 says:
    Jan 13, 2012 6:48 PM
    Niners DO NOT have the overall better team….what an idiot…saints win this comfortably….fact….niners are frauds and will be exposed…..the left coast delusion continues….

    __________________________________

    Fact…

    Just because you say “Fact” before your statement does not make it true.

    Fact.

    -Saints are yet to win a playoff game on the road.
    -Saints are a different team on the road.
    -Teams throw for a massive amount of yards against the 49ers but get very little points.
    -You showed 15+ of your so called “exotic” blitzes to the 49ers in the preseason. (Thank you for the Film)
    -Drew is a monster on turf where the traction for recievers is flawless. Notice how he throws balls without a reciever acknowledgement. Most of the time, the pass meets the reciever at a perfect route. That requires flawless traction. Those are potential picks @ Candlestick

    -Who’s got it better then us? is actually a strong team philosphy that builds team unity and leaves no room for excuses
    -“Who dat?” was made famous by a washed up rapper named “Juvenile” from NO.

    I’ve been a homer for over 15 years.
    but you Saints fans are redefine the term.

    Ultimately, speculation is fun, but it means squat.

    This game is going to be amazing.

    LETS GO FRISCO!!!!!

  17. noladat says: Jan 13, 2012 8:05 PM

    take look at their Opponents Rushing Offense they’ve faced this year:

    14th ranked Pitt
    18th ranked Dallas (Lost)
    19th ranked Cincy
    21st ranked Seattle Twice
    23rd ranked Rams Twice
    24th ranked Cards Twice
    25th ranked Washington
    28th ranked Cleveland
    29th ranked Detroit
    30th ranked Tampa Bay
    32nd ranked Giants

    Then 5th ranked Philly (Barely won 23-24)

    Then 10th ranked Baltimore (Lost)

    That D has played nobody!

  18. nineroutsider says: Jan 13, 2012 8:32 PM

    trbowman says: Jan 13, 2012 7:38 PM

    Alex Smith plays quarterback for the 9ers.

    Therefore, 9ers lose.
    ———————————————
    Your posts are the worst. You are known offender in my book.

    Smith throws a 4th qtr TD for his 6th 4th qtr comeback win of the year. Dude swam through a river of crap for 5 years and came out clean on the other side and fans like you that don’t understand the dynamics of a football team still give him no respect.

    Enjoy reading the draft guides this weekend while praying that your lowly Bills don’t take another Aaron Maybin.

  19. usetabe says: Jan 13, 2012 8:42 PM

    Sunny day, no rain, no wind, no mud, Bay Area residents can’t burn wood in their fireplaces because of the lack of wind, these are ideal conditions for New Orleans and their passing attack. The tough Niner defense will make it a tough game for them, they just have too many weapons which won’t be affected by conditions. Damn it. (Niners fan)

  20. nineroutsider says: Jan 13, 2012 8:51 PM

    @noladat

    Be on here tomorrow after the 9ers finally play someone and tell me what ya think.

    Who Dat…We Dat!

    Go 9ers…Get Some!

  21. nineroutsider says: Jan 13, 2012 8:54 PM

    usetabe says: Jan 13, 2012 8:42 PM

    Sunny day, no rain, no wind, no mud, Bay Area residents can’t burn wood in their fireplaces because of the lack of wind, these are ideal conditions for New Orleans and their passing attack. The tough Niner defense will make it a tough game for them, they just have too many weapons which won’t be affected by conditions. Damn it. (Niners fan)
    ————————————————
    Ye of little faith! Who cares about the outside conditions? The 9ers play a certain style that will keep them in any game, against any team. It just comes now to execution. The 9ers will be able to execute a little bit better.

    It will be a tough game, but don’t let the offensive shows fool you, these guys, like every team, can and will be had.

    Go 9ers!

  22. orthodoxdj says: Jan 13, 2012 9:02 PM

    Some people are saying New Orleans isn’t good on grass. According to many hippies, San Francisco is amazing on grass.

    Brian Cushing is amazing on steroids.

  23. mrlynch33 says: Jan 13, 2012 9:05 PM

    Cannot wait for this game!!!! Hoping Niners get it done….We are back!!!!

    “You eat POS for breakfast?”…..”NO”

  24. IMG says: Jan 13, 2012 9:06 PM

    Well, thank heavens for small mercies. As I type I havent see a single ‘Who Dat’ in the comments.

  25. raiderapologist says: Jan 13, 2012 9:14 PM

    Greggg says:
    Or don’t and don’t tell me. I won’t really know the difference.

    Neither will we. We barely read your stuff when we find it here. We never go looking for it.

  26. jessethegreat says: Jan 13, 2012 9:17 PM

    Neither of these teams will impact the Super Bowl. Whoever wins between the Giants and Packers will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

    If the Giants win, it will be just like 07 when they built momentum on the road in the playoffs to take the Lombardi from the Pats. If they win in Green Bay…. no one will stop them.

    If the Packers win, they will face the winner of the 49ers/Saints in Green Bay.

    49ers D might slow Green Bay down a little, but 49ers aren’t used to the cold, and Rodgers has proven again and again that he’s elite and going to put up points at home in any kind of conditions.

    Saints already lost to Green Bay in Green Bay at the beginning of the year. Green Bay’s D will give up the yards, but they will force turnovers (most picks all year) and Saints won’t be able to keep up.

    Take it for what its worth, but Giants or Packers WILL represent NFC this year.

  27. mashoaf says: Jan 13, 2012 9:17 PM

    How’d Alabama and Auburn do against high power offenses this year? Good luck Saints. Defense wins games. Ask the Patriots how well there high powered offense did against the Giants.

  28. blaz0037 says: Jan 13, 2012 9:30 PM

    This is a QUARTERBACK league these days, obviously.

    I fully expect Brees to win this weekend. And Rodgers and Brady for that matter.

    Defense does NOT win championships. Not any more. Its a shame, but its true.

  29. Kyle Orton's Hangover says: Jan 13, 2012 9:51 PM

    Wow, you 9er fans are showing just how classy you are. Kudos on the name calling on an blog.

  30. ilovefoolsball says: Jan 13, 2012 10:00 PM

    @rihks, I made some corrections to your train wreck of a post…

    Fact.

    -Saints won the superbowl ON THE ROAD
    -Saints are still a good team on the road.
    -Teams throw for a massive amount of yards against the 49ers and so will the Saints, the difference is the Saints score touchdowns.
    -You showed 15+ of your so called “exotic” blitzes to the 49ers in the preseason, BUT IT’S FRIGGIN PRESEASON, WHO CARES?
    -Drew is a monster on turf where the traction for recievers is flawless. Notice how he throws balls without a reciever acknowledgement. Most of the time, the pass meets the reciever at a perfect route. That requires flawless traction. He did the same thing in the Superbowl, which was played on grass, outdoors.

    -Who’s got it better then us? is actually a silly, narcissistic team philosphy that builds big-headedness and opens the door for a heart wrenching loss
    -”Who dat?”is an English idiom originating from New Orleans for over a century. First referenced in poetry, the phrase was a common dialogue element between the performers and the crowd at traveling minstrel shows in the region. Eventually, the phrase became used in US cinematic productions for two decades, including TV and movies. In World War II, the phrase became known as a source of entertainment for American Soldiers.

    so know your history you uncultured 9er fan ;)

    I’ve been a homer for over 15 years.
    but you Saints fans are the real fans.

    THE ONLY STATEMENT YOU MADE THAT MAKES SENSE: Ultimately, speculation is fun, but it means squat.

    This game is going to be amazing.

    LETS GO PREGGO!!!!!

  31. ninerdynasty says: Jan 13, 2012 10:06 PM

    igetlaidmorethanyou says: Jan 13, 2012 7:45 PM

    Also a contrast in styles–the fans. I’ve been to 14 NFL stadiums in neutral clothes. SF has by far the worst fans out there. Near riots in the stands and sh—tings in the bathrooms. You get pushed, shoved, cussed at… and that’s when they win. NO had great party people. Stay classy ‘Frisco.
    —————————————————————

    I call bul1$hit on you! i have been going to games for years and have never seen anything that other fans dont do. If you have been at the sticks and that happen, it probably was because the raiders were playing.

    Here’s an idiot saying “stay classy frisco” and his ID is “igetlaidmorethanyou” hahaha

  32. cpucowards says: Jan 13, 2012 10:22 PM

    @rihks.lol. Who Dat was made famous by Juvenile??? I guess u just making up stuff to sound knowledgeable. Be sure to come back and post after this whipping. Saints 28-12

  33. nivlek81 says: Jan 13, 2012 10:22 PM

    I like the argument about the 49ers run defense and who theyve played. If you’re gonna make an argument, don’t only use facts that help your argument. So who has ‘who dat’ played during their 8 game win streak vs the pass?

    Tampa Bay (21st)
    Atlanta twice (20th)
    NY Giants (29th)
    Detroit (22nd)
    Tennessee (14th…close game on grass)
    Minnesota (26th)
    Carolina (24th)

    Hmmmm?? 7 out of those 8 games were on grass…

    Niners ranked 16th vs the pass and 2nd in PPG. Also gave up 10.9 ppg at home. It will be a close game people.

    Plus real niners fans are simply excited that we’re in the playoffs. No one expected us to be here. That’s why we say, “whooooo’s got it better than us? Noooooobodyyyy!!!!”

  34. nivlek81 says: Jan 13, 2012 10:24 PM

    Correction. 7 of those 8 games WERE NOT on grass

  35. ninerfan4life says: Jan 13, 2012 10:31 PM

    Hey rihks, If the niners win, trust me..you wont be hearing anything from
    rajuncajun28….Good points by the way!!!
    GOOOO NINERS!!!!!

  36. ceadderman says: Jan 13, 2012 10:49 PM

    noladat… Apparently you didn’t know this but I’m here to clue you in. Steven Jackson MANHANDLED your Defense. He did Jack-all against ours.

    You can look at Rankings but that don’t say SHIAAAAAT about our Defense. The reason they are ranked where they are ranked? 9er D knocked Backs out for good chunks of the season.

    Cinci’s Back? Knocked him out of the game.

    Dallas’s Back? Him Too.

    Jahvid Best? Knocked that fool out for the season.
    We lost to the Cards ONCE you twit. Through the air in the 2nd Half. They know our team we know their team.

    Are you saying that the Skins don’t have a good RB? Oh wait didn’t our Defense take him out too?

    15 games into the Season and we FINALLY surrender a Rushing TD and a 100yd game. They still lost cause they were worried about breaking our streak.

    How many games did the Saints go before they surrendered their 1st Rushing TD and 100 yard game?

    Boy I am gonna enjoy this game. N.O. fans are in for the mutha of all let downs. You’ll be reaching for your Paper Bag by the end of the 1st Half.

  37. cali49er707 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:02 PM

    much respect to the saints, no doubt they are a good team.I expect to see a hard fought game,but to all you ignorant who dat,,jambalaya eating bastards.Expect mad defense,ball control runs mixed with play action in dat a$$. NINERS

  38. forever8young says: Jan 13, 2012 11:23 PM

    @ trbowman:

    You’re an idiot.

    Therefore, you lose.

  39. savagenation2011 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:28 PM

    Saints are not the saints on the road. Doesn’t matter if its not raining. Field is below sea level. We’ve been watering the field for days. Not much footing. Bye bye saints. Niners d is too good

  40. rainponcho87 says: Jan 14, 2012 1:12 AM

    I wonder if the Saints might get a little tight if the game gets close. After all, they are the ones setting new records and they are favored in this game. They lose and their amazing season is gone and it is the second year in row they couldn’t get past the NFC west. 49ers are likely to be playing looser. Nobody saw this type of season in Harbaugh’s first year. Haven’t been to the playoffs in 9 years. There will still be a lot of optimism about next year. Everyone will still think it was a great year for them and even better years lie ahead.

  41. jimboslice208 says: Jan 14, 2012 1:36 AM

    Someone mentioned Niner fans name calling. Apparently, this is the first Niner/Saints forum you have checked out. Majority of the Saints fans have been arrogant and classless. And to the Saints fans who have been classy (miamisaint comes to mind), thank you. I havent been this stoked/nervous for a game in nine years. I hope the Niners season extends beyond Saturday…

    O, and i call b.s. too on the guy saying SF has the most unclassy fans in the 14 stadiums he’s been too. Ive been to over 30 49er games and have never witnessed the things you mentioned. And the only time Ive seen a fight break out is when the Raiders came to play.

    Regardless where “who dat” came from, it sounds awful and unintelligent. Anyways, here’s to a great game

  42. phelbin says: Jan 14, 2012 1:46 AM

    I love all these weather experts looking up the forecast on weather.com and proclaiming that it will be 65 and sunny. So the indoor-dependent Saints have nothing to fear, right? Clearly you people have never been to San Francisco. The word unpredictable comes to mind. Candlestick Point is 20 miles south, and right on the bay. It’s ALWAYS windy there, and a bright sunny day turns to fog in a matter of minutes.

    It’s a terrible place for a stadium, but at least my team is used to it! Go Niners!

  43. oaktown49er says: Jan 14, 2012 2:05 AM

    ilovefoolsball says:Jan 13, 2012 10:00 PM

    @rihks, I made some corrections to your train wreck of a post…

    Fact.

    -Saints won the superbowl ON THE ROAD
    __________________________________
    So Indy was at home in Miami?
    I just stopped reading right there.
    And by the way in Nor Cal, train wreck is a good thing buddy.

  44. 20bust11 says: Jan 14, 2012 6:29 AM

    49ers win 14-7?
    Does anyone in their right mind believe the Saints will only score 7 points?
    Pittsburgh was supposed to have the best defense in the NFL, and look how that worked for them.
    If the 49ers can keep up with the Saints, they have a shot. Bear in mind, Vegas disrespected the 49ers, because they don’t believe the 49ers can. Most people don’t think the 49ers can. The 49ers are a very good team, but they just don’t match up well against the Saints.
    It would be wise for 49er fans to prepare to complain about all of the bad calls, and missed calls, because it is unlikely the 49ers will be in the game for long. Brees has too many weapons, and while the 49ers defense is a very good defense, they aren’t likely to stop the #1 offense in the entire NFL.
    As far as the ring going to either the Packers, or the Giants, the Packers do match up quite well against the Saints, but the Giants haven’t looked very good against the Payton/Brees combo ever.
    Enough with all of the Idle/Chatter; Saints will win this game by a lot more than 7 points, and most Saints fans would love to see the Giants knock off the Packers, because it would mean a home game for a chance at the ring.

  45. jpspear says: Jan 14, 2012 8:04 AM

    One aspect that very few seem to be talking about is that the best defense in the NFC (maybe NFL) has been hearing all week how they have no chance against the Saints.

    ———————————-
    Seriously? Where have you heard you have no chance against the Saints? All we’ve heard all week is how great the Niner defense is, 5 All Pros, and how terrible the Saints are outdoors and on grass. 49er fans are no more or less arrogant that the rest of the NFL (except Dallas, Pittsburgh and both New York teams), but they do carry the whiny disrespect flag like nobody else. For not having been in a playoff game for a decade you have about 40% of the experts I’ve seen expecting you to win against the most productive offense the NFL has ever seen.

    And in keeping with other expertise on this page: Saints win because I say so.

  46. waxedagain says: Jan 14, 2012 8:24 AM

    It’s humorous how the 9er fans have suddenly become so arrogant when they haven’t won a playoff game in forever…or even played in one.

  47. nivlek81 says: Jan 14, 2012 8:39 AM

    waxedagain: What does it friggin matter what happened anytime before this year or now? Your statement sucks!!

  48. pencilmonkeymagic says: Jan 14, 2012 9:20 AM

    You have to love all these 9er fans and their blinkered outlook on a playoff game. The blanket refusal to acknowledge the potential threat of the opponent is astounding…

    …But not surprising. Or indeed a new phenomenon.

  49. jpspear says: Jan 14, 2012 9:32 AM

    jessiethegreat: Saints already lost to Green Bay in Green Bay at the beginning of the year. Green Bay’s D will give up the yards, but they will force turnovers (most picks all year) and Saints won’t be able to keep up.

    Take it for what its worth, but Giants or Packers WILL represent NFC this year..

    ———————————-
    So losing at the goal line on the last play of the first game of the season proves the Packers’ superiority, but the Saints obliterating the Giants the week before the Packers needed a last second field goal to beat them a few weeks ago is meaningless? Your critical thinking skills are amazing.

  50. footballfundamentals says: Jan 14, 2012 10:04 AM

    Niners 24
    Saints 20

  51. johnnyshore says: Jan 14, 2012 10:39 AM

    But let’s be serious here, everybody hates Lions fans.

  52. stephenjr311 says: Jan 14, 2012 10:48 AM

    Most 49ers fans on this website (and most fans of all teams for that matter) seem to be giving the 49ers fans in general a bad rep. I’m here to say that as a 49ers fan I think this will be a tough game and we haven’t proved we can beat a team like the Saints yet. I’m hoping that changes today.

    On a side note, the reason most fans on this website are homers is because the news here is mostly speculative rumors and anything that the writers think will cause an uproar. It’s basically fox news for sports here. Most of the headlines are stated in a manner that vaguely resembles the articles but elicits the most comments, hits, and disagreements possible.

  53. jessethegreat says: Jan 14, 2012 12:53 PM

    jpisqueer,
    I’m sorry, you’re right. By playing the Packers close and almost beating them, the Saints have proven their superiority.

    Or let me guess, the Saints gave the Packers the game they played this year all to help build the Packers false confidence?

    That’s why the Saints have homefield advantage and had a bye last week?

  54. odweezy says: Jan 14, 2012 2:23 PM

    The 49ers have one good season with a soft schedule, and now they suddenly think they’re good enough to go toe to toe with one of the most consistent and explosive offenses of the last few years?

    You went 6-10 last year, and your quarterback/team have little experience in the playoffs. Show some respect and acknowledge that your playing a really good team that has a hell of a lot more chance of winning than you do.

  55. ima9er4life says: Jan 14, 2012 2:39 PM

    Smith needs to be on his A game, espically our defense

  56. jessethegreat says: Jan 15, 2012 9:15 PM

    jpISqueer,

    Care to take the odds on the Giants vs Saints? Oh sorry, Giants vs 49ers? Like I told you, Winner of GIANTS vs Packers WILL REPRESENT NFC. Your blind homerism has caught you in a bind. You blindly stood behind the Saints claiming they were the greatest team on turf… only to watch them lose on grass as the Giants clearly proved they are the best team in the game right now.

    My deductive resoning has nothing to do with the Giants representing the NFC. It’s simple intelligence. You obviously have NONE. Next time you try to rip on me, remember that I will be there to correct you and shove it up your nose you silly HOMER.

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