Saints Move on in Playoffs – Next Stop: San Francisco

Posted on Jan 9, 2012 in Local Issues, Sports

Saints’ safety Roman Harper tackles 49ers quarterback Alex Smith

The Saints ended the Lions’ season Saturday night with a scintillating 45 to 28 victory. Their next stop on the road to the Superbowl are the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the #2 seed in the NFC and arguably boast the league’s best defense. This will be an extremely close game, for sure. Here are three key things the Saints need to do to come out on top:

1. Keep the pressure off Brees. The 49ers have an excellent defensive line in Aldon and Justin Smith, so Saints’ center Brian De La Puente needs to step up and protect the pocket so Brees has time to throw.

2. Score in the red zone. The Saints are only 7 for 22 on touchdowns scored in the red zone on grass this year. They will have to make the most of their opportunities in this game because the Niners allow red zone TDs only 25% of the time.

3. Maintain the run game. Much of the reason why Brees has been so deadly this season is that the Saints’ offensive attack is multidimensional with the addition of Darren Sproles and the strong play from both Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory. The Niners have the league’s best run defense. To win this game, the Saints must be a threat on the ground to create more opportunities to score.

The game kicks off at 4:30 PM Eastern time this Saturday, January 14th.

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