It’s another week, and another big game for the 49ers as they continue to battle the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West title and a first round bye in the playoffs. The Niners head to New Orleans to face Drew Brees and the 10-2 Saints, while the Seahawks travel to Los Angeles for a Sunday night showdown against the Rams.
And while Vegas has both the 49ers (+2.5) and Rams (+1) listed as underdogs, not everyone sees it that way. Michael Lombardi, long time NFL executive and former scout for the 49ers (1984-87), predicted the best case scenario for Niners fans this week on his weekly podcast “The GM Shuffle” - a win over the Saints, and a Seahawks loss to the Rams.
Here’s what he had to say about the 49ers matchup against New Orleans:
“Their defense has played well. I know their 2-2 in their last 4 games but each of their two games have been decided by 3 points, so you know they’re always in close games. And they’ve been able to throw the ball downfield, they average over 8.26 yards per attempt in these games. But, you know, what I think has really been impressive is the fact that they’ve allowed just 4.77 yards per attempt and just two plays over 25 yards in the last two games.
I mean, this pass defense has been really good. And the Saints haven’t been really explosive, they’re just 6.8 yards per attempt... I mean Brees is great with the ball, but I think this defensive front will create some problems for Brees and the Saints offense. They’ve got to stop Kamara. I like this to be a lower scoring game than most people think but I like the Niners to cover the points, I’ll take the road dog here.”
And about the Rams, Seahawks matchup:
“I’m going to go with the Rams here, only because I think the Rams are running Gurley, I think they’re coming off a good week. You know, you go back to the game they played early in the season the Rams had a chance to win that if Zuerlein makes a field goal. And I think the Rams will throw the football effectively, I think that Sean McVay knows how to attack this team pretty well.
I think it’ll be an up and down game. I think Seattle is due for a road loss, I do. It’s hard to be 7-0 on the road, it’s hard to go undefeated on the road. And I think playing at home is going to help the Rams slow down that pass rush, and I think Goff with all their weapons back. My numbers say, if you just want to go by numbers, my numbers say Seattle by 5, but I’m going to take the Rams here.”
No question, 49ers fans will be very pleased if Lombardi’s predictions come to pass. The Niners would regain both the NFC West lead and the number one seed in the NFC with just three weeks to go, which is better than even the most optimistic 49ers fan could’ve expected when the season began.
And now, onto those links:
49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt (Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports)
What are the Saints Saying about the 49ers ahead of the NFC Showdown (Matthew Asher, 49ers.com)
Emmanuel Sanders is valuable resource for 49ers’ young receiver group (Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports)
Three Reasons Why the San Francisco 49ers Will Win Out (Nicholas McGee, SI.com)
49ers may only have four receivers available vs. Saints due to injuries (David Bonilla, 49ers WebZone)
Film From the Field House: Week 13 Highs and Lows (Brett Rumbeck, 49ers WebZone)
49ers take RB in 1st-round of 2020 NFL mock draft (Kyle Madson, Niners Wire)
Most of US will get 49ers-Saints on TV broadcast (Kyle Madson, Niners Wire)
49ers vs. Saints: Week 14 betting odds, injuries and matchups (Peter Panacy, Niner Noise)
49ers Tevin Coleman is in danger of losing starting role (Matt Stephenson, Niner Noise)
Around the NFL...
NFL Week 14 injuries: Adam Thielen doubtful for Vikings, Falcons get Julio Jones and Austin Hooper back (Tyler Sullivan, CBS Sports)
Antonio Brown apologizes for recent actions while restating his desire to play football again (Bryan DeArdo, CBS Sports)
Odell Beckham: I never said I wasn’t happy in Cleveland (Nick Shook, NFL.com)
Patriots expected to re-sign kicker Nick Folk (Kevin Patra, NFL.com)
Saints rule out starting LBs A.J Klein (knee), Kiko Alonso (thigh) vs. 49ers (Mike Triplett, ESPN)