So...if you've been able to sift your way through Tebow Mania and find a word or two on the Saints, you might have noticed that there are a lot of folks picking the 49ers in this game. I have watched a lot of shows that use the phrase "What do the 49ers have to do to stop the Saints". Then when the talk is over, they pick the 49ers. All of them base their pick on our "road record" and say "the Saints are a different team when their not in the The Dome". I have to agree with that...a little bit! I would actually say that the Saints are a different team than they were in the first half of the season.....way back when we lost our last game....when we still went 5-3....when we had a shot to beat the Packers...when our run defense was not as stout as it is now....when we were losing the turnover ratio....before we had Chris Ivory back...when Porter and Vilma were either playing with injuries and/or out....when Olin Kruetz was playing with half a heart....before Sean Payton got his play calling mojo back! SO...WE ARE A DIFFERENT TEAM NOW! Dome or no Dome, we are a different team then we were way back when we lost our last game. Since then we have been on fire! 9 straight wins and all anyone can talk about is Tim Freakin' Tebow. It's embarrassing! The NFL Network, Sports Center and all NFL pundits should be ashamed of themselves.
But that's not all.....
I'm not sure if anyone even remembers when The Saints had to play in the NFC West? Yes, it's ridiculous that a team from the deep South should be playing in the NFC West. Yes, it was during the early days of the "West Coast Offense." Sure, we had to face Joe Montana twice a year and The Greatest Show on Turf and fly back and forth all the time acting as the door mat to the division. The Saints never managed to win any of those Division Titles, but we did manage to put up a few good fights. The reason we were ever even treated with any degree of respect was out defense. We were not an offensive powerhouse during the 80s ad 90s. We were, however, a great, hard-hitting defense. THE DOME PATROL! The 49ers always knew that they were going to get a tough, bloody nose game from the Saints.
Well, here it is...a roll reversal! Now we have the high-fying, west coast offense. We spread the field to deep receivers, fullbacks in the flat, short crossing patterns and the league's best screen game. The 49ers, on the other hand, are a hard hitting, shut down defense. They pride themselves on conservative play calling offense and a defense that will hold the opposing team to 20 point or less. They play field position and don't ask a lot of their quarterback. I, actually find it odd considering the head coach is an ex-quarterback. Almost like he doesn't really have the play-calling notebook to draw from. Maybe he doesn't have faith in his not-so-young, but young enough quarterback. They've certainly had their fair share of top draft picks in recent years. Maybe I haven't been following the 49ers closely enough in recent years to know who's playing on their offensive line.
Here's the deal...I feakin' hate the 49ers! I am still bent out of shape about having to play those guys every year in the NFC West! I am tired of Jerry Rice jerseys and Montana jerseys and Steve Young jerseys. I lived in San Francisco for long enough to watch the "fans" lose attention when the franchise started to lose games. I'm over "The Catch." I'm over Golden Joe! Don't get me wrong, I have total respect for what that team did in the history of the league. Montana, Young and Rice, Ronnie Lott and Dwight Clark are some of the best players to have played the game. But, that team has payed out. They have trophies to go around. Their time is over! It's OUR TIME!!
Can the 49ers defense stop Drew Brees? Can they stop Drew Brees AND Sproles, Colston, Ivory, Thomas, Moore, Graham, Arrington, Higgins, Gilmore and Collins? Can their defense get through a pro bowl line? I'm not as worried about our defense against Alex Smith. Their conservative play calling should be easy prey for Greg Williams and Jon Vilma. We're going into this game as healthy as nay team has ever been this deep into the season. We are sharp and well oiled. We are playing at the highest level that this team has ever played. We've won 9 games in a row and have found our groove! I just don't think that the 49ers are ready for this type of pace. I am looking forward to a little payback from the NFC West days and dishing out a bit the old 49ers' medicine!