The San Francisco 49ers are officially in the playoffs, and that means they're looking ahead to games potentially against the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints. Right now, the 49ers are a number two seed, and that's something they sorely need to maintain. Aside from avoiding a wildcard game with a first round bye, the team needs to assure itself a home playoff game when the divisional round comes along.
There's one team in particular that the 49ers should be especially wary of, aside from the obvious Packers - who will likely be a force to be reckoned with in the NFC Championship game. This other team is almost as daunting a task to overcome as Green Bay, under certain circumstances. That team is, of course, the New Orleans Saints. The circumstance is playing them at home - the Superdome.
Drew Brees has been ridiculously efficient and deadly in domes over the past few seasons, especially at home in the Superdome. The team is doing great either way with a 9-3 record, but they're undefeated at home, sitting at 6-0. They've scored a total of 239 points at home, for an average of 39 points a game. Brees has thrown for just under 2000 yards at home this season, with an average yardage total of 321 yards per game. He's thrown for 20 touchdowns just at home, more than Alex Smith has thrown all season, with an average QB rating of 120.5.
On the road, his numbers have been only slightly worse in some categories and even better in others - but historically, the Superdome is where Brees can win football games. The 49ers need to finish ahead of them so they can host a game at Candlestick Park, a place where the 49ers have played well on primetime, and what's more primetime than the NFL playoffs?
If the 49ers win out, they secure the second seed, even if New Orleans wins out. If the 49ers lose one game and the Saints win out, the 49ers will still win the tie-breaker. With three games against the NFC West coming up, San Francisco can afford to lose one - but they should be playing as hard as possible at this point. The threat of the Superdome is a real one.