The New Orleans Saints are set to play the San Francisco 49ers this Saturday, January 14th, 2012 at Candlestick Park. The two teams are polar opposites in their styles of play. The New Orleans Saints are a high powered offensive team, while the San Francisco 49ers rely on their gritty defense to win games. When the two teams meet up Saturday one will secure a bid to the NFC championship and the other will be going home. The matchup is one for the ages, both teams had identical records in the regular season and both are among the best in terms of offense or defense.
The Saints were the number one team in the regular season in terms of total offense and passing yards. Looking at the other end of the spectrum, the 49ers were the number one team in yards rushed allowed per game to go along with their 23 interceptions, tied for second best in the league. Furthermore, the 49ers were ranked 4th in total defense, allowing only 308 yards per game. The Saints’ offense is as good as the 49ers’ defense so the game will definitely be difficult for both teams. These two teams are so great at what they do and their playing styles have gotten them this far this season. The question comes up again, what wins game, offense or defense?
Offense and defense usually cancels each other out; critics always say that defense wins championships and offense sells tickets. However, I don’t see why offense can’t win championships. If there is any offensive team that can win a championship it has to be the New Orleans Saints. With that being said, I think this game will come down to which team can make their “weakness” a strength. When I say “weakness” I mean the style of play that each team is not known for.
I use the quotes because I do not think the Saints are particularly weak on defense and I do not think the 49ers are particularly weak on offense; it is just that those are the opposite styles of play for each team. The New Orleans Saints will have to couple their dynamic offense with good defense in order to defeat the 49ers. Furthermore, the Saints’ defense helps their offense because the defense can get the ball back and let Brees operate down the field.
The Saints are a proven offensive force and as of late their defense has been coming along. If the Saints can keep lighting up the score board and their defense can keep the 49ers from scoring often, then they should be able to punch their ticket to the NFC championship and prove that offense can beat defense.