The San Francisco 49ers payback caravan rolls into the Big Easy this week to do battle against the National Football Conference South Division leading New Orleans Saints. The home team is looking to gain revenge for their dramatic 2019 Superdome loss.
This is the third straight game in which the 49ers have had to play a team that they beat last year and is waiting to get them this season. Two weeks ago, Kyle Shanahan’s squad ventured into Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, the site where last December the 49ers won a game based on a last second goal line stand that included a tackle for the ages. That 49rers victory clinched the top seed in the NFC Playoffs and paved the way for San Francisco to earn their seventh Super Bowl appearance.
In the 2020 rematch, the Seahawks took advantage of an injured 49ers squad while handing them a 37-27 defeat.
Last week, the 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers, a team they beat twice last season in games that included a regular season hammer job, 37-6, and the NFC Championship Game, 37-20. Both games were played at Levi’s Stadium, as was the 2020 rematch last Thursday night, which resulted in a Green Bay win, 34-17, in a contest not as close as the final score.
Now comes Sunday, when the 49ers visit the Saints and New Orleans well remember the game they lost last year when 49ers tightend George Kittle pulled off a catch and run reminiscent of the 1986 play by the New York Giants Mark Bavaro. In that game, 33 years earlier, Bavaro carried 49er defenders 20 yards in a macho statement that led to a Giants road win.
Last December, Kittle made a similar play, that was enhanced by 15 yards when New Orleans defenders in frustration grabbed Kittle’s facemask in an attempt to end the burst. The play set up the 49ers for the winning field goal, and they left the Superdome with a 48-46 victory in the 16th highest scoring game in NFL history.
That 49ers win not only was pivotal in them earning the top seed in the NFC playoffs, it knocked the Saints out of the opening postseason week bye, and they went on to lose that Wild Card weekend game to the Minnesota Vikings in overtime.
Oh yeah, the Saints remember.
So, bet the Saints and laugh all the way to the bank? Lay the nine point spread and expect Drew Brees and company to blow by the line like the Seahawks and Packers have done the past two weeks?
Because there are some intriguing stats that level the Saints advantage in this one.
First, their win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night came way too easy. They were road underdogs for a game that determined first place in their division. Tom Brady was at home and looking to avenge an opening game loss to the Saints in New Orleans.
The game was set up for the Buccaneers to win, although the line move, which took the Saints from a 4½ point home favorite on the opening line to a 3 point favorite on game day despite heavy Tampa Bay backing from public wagering, indicated the books knew who the right side was in this game.
Still, when a team prepares for a big challenge, as no doubt Brees and his teammates did, and then the win comes as easy as it did, 38-3, there is a human tendency to under prepare for your upcoming game.
In other words, the Saints revenge mode has already been satisfied with winning last week and being nearly a double-digit favorite this Sunday against the 49ers.
In the world of outsmarting the obvious, the landing point on this game is not for the 49ers to win, but for them to get the money with the generous point spread.
Qoxhi Picks: San Francisco 49ers (+9) over New Orleans Saints