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5 Qs and 5 As with Canal Street Chronicles - Where did Jameis Winston go?

To better get to know today’s opponent, we reached out to Canal Street Chronicles

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

Seems like every time the Saints and Niners match up, something wild’s going to go down. First and foremost in fans’ minds, the NFC Divisional Round showdown between the road favorite Saints and the home dog Harbaugh 49ers remains one of THE great playoff shootouts of this century so far.

In the 2013 regular season, a controversial roughing the passer penalty on Ahmad Brooks negated a victory-sealing sack strip before flipping the outcome, which ultimately set up the NFC Championship to be played in Seattle with the Niners one loss behind them in the standings.

Then in what’s almost certainly the hardest-fought battle of the Shanahan era, the Niners went into New Orleans on their way to the Super Bowl and dueled to a 48-46 win on the back of George Kittle, literally.

Since that fateful day, many things have changed, while many stayed the same. The Niners expected to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo, and yet he’s still here playing even better than that 2019 run. On the other side, there’s a new coach, quarterback, and vibe surrounding the once perennial contender Saints. To help unpack all these differences, I reached out to Tina Howell with Canal Street Chronicles to give us the scouting report.

1. Dennis Allen, long-time defensive coordinator, entered this season attempting to replace Sean Payton, the most successful coach in the history of the franchise. A little more than halfway through his year, how would rate his performance as a head coach?

Sadly, I can’t say that I have been impressed. This particular Saints team sitting at 4-7 is simply unacceptable and most of the blame lies with coaching. Allen was an exceptional defensive coordinator for the Saints, but I don’t think he was the right guy to take over for Sean Payton. I had some concerns about that decision, and now, they have been proven valid.

2. Unfortunately, Jameis Winston’s 2022 got off to a bum start with another injury. Just recently, he told the media he’s healthy but lost his job to Andy Dalton because of his time recuperating. Do you think Winston deserves the chance to play again, or has Dalton played too well to displace?

It is miserable and unfair what has happened to Jameis. But he has lost so much time working with the starters, so I think that is why Dennis Allen has chosen to stick with Dalton. I do think Jameis is the better QB when he is 100%.

Dalton has been so inconsistent and has a habit of holding onto the ball too long. He also has put the Saints in a few bad situations that cost them some games. I don’t know how this will play out, but I think Jameis definitely deserves another shot.

3. The Saints' defense hasn’t matched the elite level of play that we’ve seen from them in recent years. Can you explain the drop-off and do you see the possibility of them returning to their old form sometime soon?

This is something that has really perplexed me because, on paper, this is a talented team that just has not shown up consistently every Sunday. But I think their struggles are the result of many things: The loss of CJ Gardner-Johnson, Marcus Williams, and Malcolm Jenkins, having not 1 but 2 defensive coordinators and no definitive voice in the locker room, lack of discipline, and mounting injuries have all been contributing factors.

But we are in Week 12, so I hope they figure it all out soon before it is really too late to save the season.

4. Who’s a player on the Saints that Niners fans might not be aware of heading into the game that might make a huge impact this Sunday?

Rookie CB Alontae Taylor has really stepped up in place of Marshon Lattimore, who has been out the last few weeks with an abdominal injury. What is really impressive is Taylor himself was injured earlier in the season and placed on IR. So, he hasn’t had a lot of playing time this season, but when he is on the field, he makes his presence known.

5. The Saints are +8.5-point underdogs entering Sunday’s game on DraftKings Sportsbook, and the over/under is set at 43 points. Do you see the Saints covering, and where do you see the final score landing?

This is a tough game to predict because the Saints have been so bipolar this season especially due to the amount and severity of injuries to our players so far. I can see it ending in a close one and IF the Saints can play a complete game like last week, we have a shot at winning. So, I will be optimistic and say Saints 27- Niners 24