The Saints tackle play is good, but not great and Aldon Smith is just the type of athlete that could give LT Jermon Bushrod trouble. While Brees is having the best year of any QB not named Aaron Rodgers, he will give the ball away from time to time and if Smith becomes a nuisance for Brees and the Saints, the chances of Brees throwing an interception to the opportunistic 49'ers goes way up.
San Francisco is old-school in their approach. They want to run the ball with great physicality, play good defense and win the turnover battle. To run the ball the way that Jim Harbaugh wants, the interior line of Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin and Adam Snyder have to control Sed Ellis and Aubrayo Franklin on the inside. Goodwin played center for the Saints so he might have an idea of the best way to handle Ellis, but if the Niners don't move Franklin and Ellis off the line of scrimmage, then the running game will fizzle and too much pressure may be heaped on the shoulder of Alex Smith.
Drew Brees can and will attack the 49ers secondary and linebacking corps with every weapon at his disposal. The Saints will move the ball and the saints will rack up yardage. What the 49ers have to worry about is the Saint racking up points. As long as the 49ers are moving the ball, they can live with the Saints move the ball between the 20s as long as they hold the Saints to field goal attempts. If Brees catches the 49ers taking too many chances or playing too aggressively underneath, he will take shots down the field at them. The 49ers must keep the Saints in front of them and limit their big plays.
Saints OGs Jhari Evans and Carl Nicks vs. 49ers ILB Patrick Willis