This Sunday’s game between the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers has some big time storylines. Although the matchup between these two NFC playoff hopefuls may not be quite as significant as the divisional game between the AFC West‘s undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and the powerhouse Denver Broncos, there will be serious implications nonetheless.
Although the Saints are riding high off of a 49-17 rout of the Dallas Cowboys and are looked upon as the favorites to win the game, the recent history between these two franchises has not been favorable for New Orleans. The 49ers have come away with victories in both of their previous contests in the past two seasons. Last season, San Francisco defeated the Saints at home in a game where Drew Brees threw two pick-sixes and was sacked five times. Saints fans also remember the heartbreaking 36-32 divisional round playoff loss to San Francisco.
Needless to say, there is a bit of recent history between these two franchises. Fortunately for New Orleans, the tides of fortune may have been reversed this season.
The 49ers currently sit three games behind the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks at 6-3. San Francisco has already dropped a game to Seattle, and had home losses the Carolina Panthers and the Indianpolis Colts. A loss to The Saints this Sunday would further dash their hopes of claiming their division, and maybe even a Wild Card spot.
New Orleans, meanwhile, is sitting at the top of their division with a 7-2 record. The next couple of games for the Saints will be important to their playoff prospects. Coming down the pipe for them next is Sunday’s matchup, a Thursday night game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta on a short week, a road game against the Seahawks and two divisional games against the Panthers. It goes without saying that this latter part of New Orleans’ schedule is very significant if they wish to gain optimal position entering the postseason.
No game is ever a sure thing, but New Orleans is undefeated at home this season and is looking healthier than they have since the beginning of the season. This one should end up with a Saints’ victory and improved standing in the NFC South.