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49ers vs. Saints: QB Colin Kaepernick faces an exotic New Orleans defense

Jim Harbaugh just named second-year player Colin Kaepernick the starting QB entering Week 12. On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers will go on the road to face the New Orleans Saints. We breakdown a big match-up this weekend.

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

As of Thursday evening, word leaked that Jim Harbaugh decided to go ahead with Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith. This decision is imminent but by no means permanent. However, the second-year QB out of Nevada will get his second ever pro start this Sunday.

In Week 12, the San Francisco 49ers will go on the road to face the New Orleans Saints. And while Kaepernick handled Chicago’s top-ranked unit, this will be a different challenge altogether.

Kaepernick faced a Bears defense on Monday night with a potent, yet relatively simplistic approach. They are going to line up and try to beat you, showing their hand in the process. Chicago’s 46/Tampa 2 looks failed to work because San Francisco executed better.

The Saints bring a different kind of challenge on defense, and for a young, inexperienced quarterback, it could be daunting.

New Orleans likes to have motion up front, show different looks, send their defensive backs and blitz heavy on obvious passing downs. Their most efficient and frequent blitzer is safety Roman Harper. With him coming off the edge, Kaepernick will have to make quick decisions -- whether to run, pass or other.

While Kaepernick displayed great pocket awareness and mobility, this will be a cerebral challenge, where it would pay to have significant game experience. Not to mention, this will be his first career road start in game where he might be asked to put up 30 points because of who his opponent is.

He will have to help his defense out by sustaining drives and scoring touchdowns instead of field goals. This will be a brand new challenge for Kaepernick and this 49ers offense.