This is it. This is the moment where some of us at SFBay who actually care about Saturday’s 49ers-Saints divisional playoff game make bold, fearless predictions about the outcome, performances and story lines.
And you can jump in on the action too! Just leave a comment to this story with your predicted winner and final score. The person closest to the exact score and game winner will win a $50 gift certificate to the fabulous B44 Catalan restaurant in San Francisco’s Financial District. Order the gambas and B44 paella!
If multiple people pick the same winning score, a single winner will be selected at random. Only comments posted prior to game time will be eligible. Now go get to pickin’, before we have to hire an attorney to make up more rules!
Ali T.: Saints, 31-17
The Saints are on a roll. The Niners D is good, but I don’t see them slowing down Drew Brees, who is performing at a level unmatched by any quarterback in history. Brees will throw for three touchdowns and Darren Sproles will rush for one. Yes, the 49ers will give up a rushing touchdown.
And I think the Saints have the blueprint to silence the 49ers offense: Pressure on Alex Smith. It may have been a preseason game, but they blitzed the heck out of the Niners. It was the blueprint the Ravens used to defeat the Niners on Thanksgiving. If the Saints can replicate that strategy, Alex Smith is going to wish he hadn’t gotten out of bed on Saturday.
Jesse G.: 49ers, 23-12
David Akers kicks three field goals. The offense and defense each score a touchdown as the 49ers hold Drew Brees and the Saints to a touchdown, a field goal and a safety. Yeah, I said it. A safety.
The 49ers’ touchdown is a 67-yard slant to Michael Crabtree, highlighting an aggressive aerial game plan. The 49ers have been saving the screen pass all season long to neutralize New Orleans and their blitzing schemes. The ghost of Bill Walsh will be floating over the field, channeling a true West Coast offense through the jaw of Jim Harbaugh and the arm of Alex Smith.
After the game, Ali T. will proclaim that Alex Smith is still the 13th-best quarterback in the NFL.
Add your picks to the comments section before game time to be eligible to win our prize!