Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Peter King has been in the business for a long time, has nearly every head coach, general manager, owner and player in the NFL on his rolodex, and consistently provides an interesting take on the NFL in his MMQB column with SI.com. All that notwithstanding, King has predicted a 23-19 New Orleans Saints win this weekend. I'm sure 49er fans would disagree. Here's King's explanation:
I don't know why I'm hung up on the weather so much, and what it might do to the Saints' offense. I think it's because every time I've covered a January playoff game at Candlestick, it rains for 40 days and 40 nights prior to it, and the turf is a spongy mess. That, of course, would negate the impact of Darren Sproles and the only slightly less speedy Robert Meachem. But it's not going to be cruddy, and so I see the Saints being able to play the game they want to play. And Sproles remains the most dangerous non-quarterback still in the playoffs.
Now, whether you agree with his pick or not, King goes into much more detail in his Game Plan column, and gets 49ers safety Donte Whitner's take on handling the Saints' formidable defense:
"What you have to do against the Saints," safety Donte' Whitner told me after the Niners' last full practice of the week Thursday, "is think the game through. This is not a game where you just react. In certain games, you're better off just reacting. But in this game, the message all week has been think it through, because they're going to show you things on offense that make you think they're going to do one thing when that's not what they're doing. Drew Brees is tremendous at that."
Check out the rest of King's report and in-depth analysis at Sports Illustrated.