49ers with Matt Barrows

The premier blog for news and insights on the San Francisco 49ers

49ERS GAME AT A GLANCE

11/16/2013 7:02 PM

11/17/2013 12:25 AM

•  Opponent: at New Orleans
•  Time: 1:25 p.m.
•  Line: Saints by 3
•  Records: 49ers 6-3, Saints 7-2
•  TV/Radio: FOX40 (Joe Buck play-by-play, Troy Aikman color), 680, 1320

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham vs. 49ers safety Donte Whitner

Graham’s 805 receiving yards leads the Saints and is fifth in the NFL. When he lines up as a true tight end at the end of the offensive line, inside linebacker Patrick Willis will be responsible for shadowing him. Just as often, however, Graham will be split wide as a receiver. In those scenarios, the coverage will fall to a cornerback or safety. Saints quarterback Drew Brees will be looking for scenarios in which the 5-foot-9 Whitner is covering the 6-7 tight end.

THREE KEYS TO GAME

• The key to stopping Brees: collapse the quarterback’s pocket. The 49ers will have Aldon Smith for that task but perhaps not Ray McDonald, who is dealing with a high-ankle sprain. Look for Tony Jerod-Eddie to make his first start at McDonald’s left defensive end spot.
• Vernon Davis is likely to be back today after suffering a concussion last week. Still, the team could use more production from No. 2 tight end Vance McDonald, who has just six catches this season.
• The 49ers reshuffled their return game last week against Carolina, but it was only marginally better than when Kyle Williams was the primary return man. They will need a boost from special teams if they are to keep pace with the Saints’ high-scoring offense.

INJURY REPORT

49ERS

•  Out: DT Ray McDonald (ankle), WR Quinton Patton (foot)
•  Doubtful: TE Garrett Celek (hamstring)
•  Questionable: TE Vernon Davis (concussion), WR Mario Manningham (knee), RB Bruce Miller (hamstring), S Eric Reid (concussion), LB Dan Skuta (foot)
•  Probable: CB Tarell Brown (knee), DT Quinton Dial (ankle), RB Frank Gore (ankle), G Mike Iupati (knee), P Andy Lee (neck), DT Justin Smith (shoulder)

SAINTS

•  Out: S Kenny Vaccaro (concussion)
•  Probable: TE Jimmy Graham (elbow), S Roman Harper (knee), DE Akiem Hicks (back), DE Cameron Jordan (ankle), S Malcolm Jenkins (knee), LB Curtis Lofton (hamstring), DT Tyrunn Walker (knee), TE Benjamin Watson (concussion)

– Matthew Barrows

About This Blog

Matt Barrows was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Sacramento Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the San Francisco 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green. Reach Barrows at mbarrows@sacbee.com.
Twitter: @mattbarrows

Key links

Schedules, scores, stats

NFL news

Pro Football Focus

NFL.com

Monday Morning Quarterback / Sports Illustrated

Los Angeles Times NFL

RotoWorld / NBC Sports

 

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