Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter wants you to know three things about the meeting between the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints coming up this Saturday that may very well play a large part in who moves on in the second season:
The Saints have never won a road playoff game.
This is a fact. The Saints are 0-4 all-time on the road in the playoffs (not counting the Super Bowl), and are 0-2 since 2006 when the Drew Brees/Sean Payton marriage began. If history wants to repeat itself, this is the kind of history that hopefully does so.
This is football's version of the Irresistible Force meeting the Immovable Object.
The Saints are second in the NFL in scoring at 34.2 ppg. the 49ers are second in points allowed, only 14.3 a game. The Saints were sixth in rushing yards at 132.9 yards per game, while the Niners were first in rush defense, allowing only 77.2 yards per game. Starting to see a trend here?
The Saints are going to get off their buses blitzing.
The Saints blitzing the 49ers out of house and home this preseason has been brought up a lot, but the fact is that was the preseason, not the postseason. Big, big difference there.
Nevertheless, the 49ers still allowed 44 sacks this season, sixth worse in the NFL, and will have their issues with the exotic packages and blitzes brought forth by New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. But all those sacks have made Alex Smith more comfortable within pressure as his 96.3 passer rating against the blitz, third behind only Aaron Rodgers (131.4) and Tom Brady (110.9). Eight of his 17 touchdown passes, as well as only one of his five interceptions, were against the blitz this season.