49ers game plan vs. New Orleans

Published: Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 6C
Last Modified: Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012 - 8:53 am

A look at today's 49ers game vs. New Orleans; including, game information, matchup to watch, three keys to the game and injury report.

49ERS AT A GLANCE

Opponent: at New Orleans Saints

Time: 1:25 p.m.

Line: 49ers by 1

Records: 49ers 7-2-1, Saints 5-5.

TV/radio: FOX, Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (color), 1320

MATCHUP TO WATCH

49ers linebacker Patrick Willis vs. Saints tight end Jimmy Graham

Willis gets plenty of accolades, but not for what has become one of his main roles in a pass-dominated league – covering the opponent's tight end. Today that opponent is perhaps the most talented pass-catching tight end in the NFL. Graham has caught at least one touchdown pass in each of the last four games and has at least 70 receiving yards in five games. He also had a 66-yard scoring reception against Willis on Jan. 14 that gave the Saints the lead – briefly, it turned out – in the NFC divisional playoff game.

THREE KEYS TO GAME

• The 49ers must continue their trend of preventing big plays by the opposing offense. Drew Brees and the Saints have 39 pass plays of 20 or more yards this season.

• Colin Kaepernick was excellent last week in picking out favorable matchups in the passing game. The 49ers ought to have more opportunities today against a defense that likes to blitz.

• The 49ers' punt- and kickoff-coverage units have tightened up dramatically after a rocky start this season. That needs to continue to force the Saints into long drives.

INJURY REPORT

49ERS

• Questionable: QB Alex Smith (concussion)

• Probable: RB Frank Gore (wrist), WR Randy Moss (finger), DT Will Tukuafu (wrist) LB Aldon Smith (shoulder), CB Chris Culliver (shoulder), S C.J. Spillman (finger), S Dashon Goldson (ribs), CB Tarell Brown (knee), LB Patrick Willis (shoulder), LB Tavares Gooden (shin)

SAINTS

• Out: CB Corey White (knee), CB Elbert Mack (concussion), DE Junior Galette (ankle), T Charles Brown (knee)

• Questionable: T Zach Strief (groin)

• Probable: LB Ramon Humber (illness), RB Darren Sproles (hand)

– Matthew Barrows

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Matthew Barrows



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