2012 Divisional Preview: New Orleans vs San Francisco

This is the first of four posts this week examining the Divisional matchups in the NFL Playoffs. Check back during the next few days for more previews:

After a poor 1-3 showing by me last week with my predictions, I’m doing it all again for the Divisional round. First up, the Saints visit the 49ers at 4:30 ET on Saturday on Fox. This is a huge matchup between two teams that both finished the year 13-3. New Orleans and San Francisco did not face each other this year so they’ll be working off game film entirely to prepare for Saturday. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Offense: The Saints have a lethal passing game with Drew Brees, who set an NFL record this year for passing yards in a season. Not much more needs to be said for New Orleans’s passing game: it’s tremendous. But the Saints’ running game is underrated with Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomsa offering different options in the backfield. New Orleans tore up the Detroit Lions last week, putting 45 points on the board against the Lions’ tough defense.

For the 49ers, quarterback Alex Smith is still young but he has the luxury of playing in a system where he’s not the focal point. Running back Frank Gore is one of the league’s best backs and ran for over 1200 yards this year and fumbling just twice all year. Smith threw just five interceptions as well as the 49ers excelled at not giving up the ball. However, while San Francisco did not turn the ball over often, it also gained only 311 yards per game, seventh worst in the league. Continue reading “2012 Divisional Preview: New Orleans vs San Francisco”

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2007 NFC Preview

Here is the NFC:

East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles
  2. Dallas Cowboys
  3. New York Giants
  4. Washington Redskins

The Eagles will have Donovan McNabb back for their season opener, anmcnabb.jpgd still have Brian Westbrook at running back. The receiving core is solid, making the Eagles a constant threat on offense. Defensively, the secondary is also solid, but their 2006 run defense was horrible. A new linebacker core including Takeo Spikes should make the Eagles greatly improved in that aspect of the ball. This team is completely capable of a Super Bowl run. The Cowboys are returning an excellent offense with Tony Romo at QB Julius Jones and Marion Barber at running back, and Terrell Owens receiving. The Cowboys’ biggest weakness was their defense, and they are slightly improved this year in that category. With Bill Parcells no longer coaching, the player seem to be more confident, especially defensively where players were living in constant fear of failing Parcells. Unlike the Eagles and Cowboys, the Giants seem to be on their way down as Tiki Barber’s retirement leaves Tom Coughlin with no legitimate running back. That means the bulk of the offense will be on the shoulders of Eli Manning. Even if Manning has a breakout year, it still may not be enough without any kind of a running game. Defensively, the Giants are mediocre and did very little to improve over the off-season. Michael Strahan’s holdout did not help the team focus during camp either. This team has a possibility to be good, but it is much more likely that one thing will go wrong, distract the rest of the team, and then destroy the season. The Redskins have no real Quarterback, a depleted running game, and had the league’s worse defense last year. The offense will surely struggle, but the defense is more important to the Redskins. They completely changed their starters and brought in a bunch of new faces to try to reinvent their defense. The Redskins show very little promise and will not win many games until they can find a franchise quarterback and young defense. Continue reading “2007 NFC Preview”