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5 players to watch on the 49ers' defense against the Saints: Playing keep away from Kamara

Between stopping Chris Olave and trying to prevent Alvin Kamara from having a big game, the 49ers will have their hands full defensively.

San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

DeMeco Ryans’ defense has been playing well and making great adjustments over the course of the 49ers' three-game winning streak. The 49ers' defense hasn’t allowed a point in the second half during the three-game winning streak but will have an interesting challenge against the Saints on Sunday.

The Saints' offense is top-ten in the league in total yards and are in the top half of the league in points scored but have four games where they’ve scored less than 20 points.

The 49ers' defense is one that can give the Saints' offense some issues on Sunday. Here are the five players to watch on the defense as the 49ers aim for an undefeated month of November.

CB Charvarius Ward

Ward had a unique matchup with DeAndre Hopkins as he took to the left side of the offense for the first time this season to be in coverage against the Cardinals' best receiver as much as possible. Hopkins was credited with four receptions for 42 against Ward, who had one of his best games of the season in both coverage and against the run.

Ward will likely return to the right side of the offense for his matchup on Sunday against Chris Olave. The rookie receiver has taken 60 percent of his wide snaps on the right side of the offense while leading the Saints in targets, receptions, and receiving yards.

LB Fred Warner LB Dre Greenlaw

Despite Olave leading the Saints in targets, Alvin Kamara remains the biggest weapon on the Saints' offense. Kamara leads the Saints' offense with 167 total touches for just under 900 total yards. He’s had at least four games this season with at least 100 or more scrimmage yards but hasn’t had one of those games since he scored three touchdowns against the Raiders back in Week 8.

Both Warner and Greenlaw played well on Monday night against the Cardinals, combining for 17 tackles, with Warner collecting two tackles for a loss and Greenlaw breaking up a pass and forcing a fumble. With Greenlaw fully healthy, there’s a case to be made that the 49ers' linebackers are the best position group on the team. They’ll face a tough challenge on Sunday trying to contain Kamara.

S Talanoa Hufanga

Of Andy Dalton’s 242 passes this season, 103 have been between the numbers where Hufanga frequents most in coverage. Additionally, five of Dalton’s seven interceptions on the season have been over the middle of the field. Hufanga leads the 49ers' defense with his four interceptions and has more than proved his spot in his first season as a starter.

Hufanga will be not only huge in pass coverage but in helping Warner and Greenlaw against Kamara, as a large part of his value is his play close to the line. With both Olave and Kamara in the Saints' offense, Hufanga should have a good chance to show off his versatility on Sunday.

DL Samson Ebukam

The already sturdy 49ers defensive line will get a huge boost with Friday’s announcement that Ebukam has been cleared to play against the Saints after missing the previous two games. Despite missing those games, Ebukam is third on the 49ers in sacks with 3.5 in his eight games played while creating 22 pressures. Charles Omenihu stepped up in his absence, but Ebukam’s return shores up the depth of the 49ers' pass rushers as the team as a whole is starting to get healthy for the first time this season.