San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints: Can the 49ers Bounce Back?

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a game against the Carolina Panthers where they were pretty much dominated in every aspect of the game. Truth is, the Panthers had to dominate in every aspect to win, and to their credit they did just that. Even with how well the Panthers defense played, in particular, and how bad Colin Kaepernick played, the 49ers were still almost able to squeak out a very ugly victory. Those close, low scoring, one possession games are the games that good teams find a way to win and often times bad teams find a way to lose. The point is not to say that the 49ers are a bad team after this loss, but it definitely shows they have a ton of work to do before they can call themselves Super Bowl contenders once again.

The 49ers are now set to travel to New Orleans to take on a Saints team that is coming off one of the most lopsided wins in recent history. The Saints beat the Cowboys 49-17, totaling over 600 yards of offense. This included almost 250 yards rushing from a team that relies heavily on Drew Brees and the passing game. Not to mention the fact that the Saints also gained an NFL record 40 first downs against the Cowboys and only gave up 9 to the Cowboys.

It seems as if the Saints and 49ers are heading in two different directions at the moment. Even though the 49ers had won 5 straight games previous to last week's loss to the Panthers, there seems to be a strong feeling of doubt towards Colin Kaepernick's ability as a quarterback. Kaepernick looked completely incapable of being effective in the passing game and seems to struggle against good passing defenses. The 49ers don't face many elite passing defenses, but when they have, Kaepernick has struggled. This past game against the Panthers and the last two games against the Seattle Seahawks are perfect examples where Kaepernick has struggled.

The 49ers defense was very solid against the Panthers and will have to be even better to slow down Drew Brees on his home turf. The Saints are a tough team to beat in general, but are even tougher to beat in the Superdome. Their offense seems to click when they play at home and the crowd noise is very difficult for opposing offenses to play through. It's one of the best home field advantages in the NFL along with Seattle and Kansas City.

The biggest problem the 49ers had last week against the Panthers was throwing the ball and protecting Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick was sacked six times and only threw for a measly 91 yards, which in today's NFL is pretty bad. The protection will have to improve and Kaepernick will have to be effective in the passing game if they want to keep up with Drew Brees and the Saints.

The ideal situation for the 49ers would be to control the clock for as long as possible with the running game and prevent Drew Brees from having the ball. The longer the Saints control the ball, the tougher it will be for the 49ers to win. Frank Gore continued to run the ball well last week, but the passing game was completely non-existent so it didn't really matter what Gore did.

Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers will definitely bounce back, at least statistically. It would be a huge surprise if Kaepernick threw for under 100 yards for a second straight game. To expect the 49ers to go to New Orleans and win will be tough, but it's not out of the question. When the Saints and 49ers play it is always very exciting with lots of points put on the board. This game could end up in the high twenties and maybe even the thirties. In the end, I see the Saints winning a close game 34-28 based on the fact that they have the home field advantage here.

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