1. The 49ers’ pass-rush disrupting Drew Brees
The reason why the San Francisco 49ers have been so good this season is on the defensive side of the ball. While the offense is no joke, which we will get to later, the defense has been the part of the team that has really stepped up when it matters most.
The 49ers have a great secondary and a great pass-rush that can get pressure on the quarterback by only bringing pressure with four or five guys. The 49ers are particularly great on third downs, The 49ers rank second in the league in opponent’s third-down percentage, allowing just 27.66 percent of third downs to convert.
Typically, the counterpoint to this would be that the Saints have a great offensive line and that Drew Brees can fire the ball quickly from the pocket. The problem is that both of those things are not true this week.
The Saints’ offensive line is beaten up with Andrus Peat definitely being out and Terron Armstead being a potential victim as well. Missing two linemen against this defense is asking to lose, missing one lineman is already a tough hole to get out of.
Brees also is not as quick with the football anymore and does seem a step or two slower, which naturally comes with his age.
Both of the Saints’ losses this year were a product of the other team getting pressure to Brees. In one game that resulted in an injury, in the other, it resulted in Brees being sacked six times.