The New Orleans Saints host the San Francisco 49ers in a game that has a lot on the line in terms of NFC playoff seeding.
The New Orleans Saints are entering the team’s biggest game of the season in Week 14. After all of the roadblocks and challenges that the Saints have overcome, they have a chance to solidify being the first seed in the NFC against the 49ers.
Both the 49ers and Saints are 10-2 and are just two-thirds of the battle for home-field advantage as the Seattle Seahawks are also 10-2. As of right now, the Saints are the first seed as the Seahawks have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the 49ers and the Saints have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Seattle.
The Seahawks and 49ers still need to play one more time this season and winning this game would give the Saints the tiebreaker edge over both teams, which puts the Saints in the driver’s seat. Losing this game makes it much harder to be the first-seed if the 49ers outlast the Seahawks and even will make the Saints fight for that first-round bye.
This is an important game between two great teams and the small betting line on the game is indicative of that. According to the Action Network, the Saints are 2.5-point favorites over the 49ers.
Typically speaking, the home team often gets three points tacked onto the line just for being a home team. So a three-point line means that Vegas and the public view the teams as the same quality, a 2.5-point line slightly favors the 49ers.
Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 24, New Orleans Saints 22
I hate to say it, but if I were to bet on this game, I would take the 49ers +2.5 as I think the 49ers are going to win this game outright.
The Saints have the worst-possible injuries for this matchup that is going to lead to some struggles. Offensively, Andrus Peat is still out of action and Terron Armstead is questionable. This 49ers defense, which is elite in third-down defense and getting to the quarterback, has capitalized on these things all season long.
Despite having Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers are a run-first team and utilize the run to open up the play-action pass. Not having the linebackers to stop runs from reaching the second level is going to be a problem. Having a backup tight end matched up on George Kittle is going to present a world of problems.
I think this will be a back and forth game but the pressure will be in Drew Brees‘ face all game. The 49ers will drain the clock and will play bend, don’t break defense that leads to two touchdowns and three field goals.
Meanwhile, the 49ers will score three touchdowns of their own and one field goal to narrowly edge the New Orleans Saints. Hopefully, I am wrong.