Saints Fans Guide to Week 13  (SNN/SI)

BtBoylan

With the NFC South Division in hand and the biggest matchup of the season approaching next Sunday, a relaxing Sunday of football and full of Thanksgiving leftovers are on the minds of the Who Dat Nation.  And while New Orleans does not play today, there are a handful of games Saints fans will keeping their eyes on today.  The first game is starting at noon in Baltimore.

San Francisco 49ers (10-1) at Baltimore Ravens (9-2) Sunday Dec. 1st at 12pm CST on FOX

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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the most intriguing game of the day to most NFL fans will be the San Francisco (10-1) and Baltimore (9-2) showdown.  This game has two of the hottest teams in the league with both requiring a win heading down the home stretch of the 2019 regular season.  The Ravens are led by MVP favorite and former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, who has accounted for over 3,200 yards and 30 touchdowns this season. However, Jackson will face his toughest challenge of the season as the 49ers claim the NFL’s top ranked defense..  The Niners have found a new identity under GM John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and are true contenders for the NFL crown.

GAME NOTES

Including today's matchup against the Ravens, the 49ers face four teams with winning records over their last five games.  Two of those games are against divisional opponents, the Rams in Week 16 and the Seahawks in Week 17.

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Former Saints running back, Mark Ingram II, is only one rushing touchdown away from reaching 10 on the season.  It would be the second time in Ingram's career he has exceeded double-digit touchdowns in a single season, the other coming in his 2017 Pro Bowl campaign with New Orleans.

The Ravens' defense has not surrendered over 20 points in its last 6 games to go along with an impressive last 3 weeks, surrendering only 3 points a contest.

IMPACT ON SAINTS:

Following their win Thursday night, the Saints and 49ers at the top of the NFC with 10 wins a piece. With a loss, San Francisco would drop to 10-2 on the season, thus matching the Saints record prior to a clash in the Superdome on December 8th. With a win, the 49ers would move to 11-2 on the season and become the second team to clinch a playoff spot within the NFC.

Both teams control their own fate for the right to home field advantage in the playoffs.

Green Bay Packers (8-3) at New York Giants (2-9) Sunday Dec. 1st at 12pm CST on FOX

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a tough loss at Levi’s Stadium, the Green Bay Packers (8-3) are hanging on for contention at the top of the NFC.  They still pose a true threat to clinch a first-round bye as the number two seed if either the Saints or Niners falter in the final weeks. 

Tied for the NFC North lead with Minnesota, the Packers find themselves on a date with Daniel Jones and the New York Giants (2-9).  Both teams have failed to make the playoffs each of the last two seasons and are trending in different directions in 2019.  For the G-Men it's become the tale of life after Eli Manning, as for the Pack it has been a return to form for their MVP quarterback and high octane offense.

GAME NOTES

Former Duke Blue Devils Quarterback Daniel Jones leads all rookies in touchdown passes with 17 on the year. Jones has also thrown a touchdown pass in each game he has started (9).

Both teams see significant offensive players on the injury report this week.  The Packers offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga is questionable against the Giants, after exiting last week’s matchup vs. San Francisco with a knee injury.  The Giants will be without wideout Golden Tate who is being held out with a concussion.

The Packers only face one opponent above .500 during the rest of the regular season. The Minnesota Vikings share the same record at 8-3.

IMPACT ON SAINTS:

With a win, Green Bay would move to 9-3 on the season, putting themselves just one game behind the Saints for the second seed in NFC. With a loss Green Bay falls to 8-4 and slip into a wild card spot headed into week 14, depending on the outcome of Minnesota and Seattle on Monday Night Football.

Minnesota Vikings (8-3) at Seattle Seahawks (9-2) Monday Dec. 2nd at 7:30 CST on ESPN

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Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

With both teams continuing to fight for not only playoff positioning but also a chance at a division title Monday Night’s matchup in Seattle will has the potential to shake up the NFC playoff picture. Russell Wilson has made yet another case to be the league’s MVP, while Vikings Kirk Cousins has silenced the critics with an impressive touchdown to interception ratio of 7:1.

GAME NOTES

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook having a bounce back season after missing the 2018 season to an ACL tear.  Cook is third in the NFL in rushing yards (1,017) and second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (11).

Seattle’s defense has forced 24 turnovers, which is third best in the league. Eight of those forced turnovers have come over the course of the past two weeks.

Seattle’s victory in overtime against San Francisco gives the Seahawks the head-to-head advantage over the Niners. Therefore, the Seahawks an opportunity to jump to the number one seed after this week.

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IMPACT ON SAINTS:

Both teams are sitting in the NFC’s wild card positions.  A Seahawks win and a 49ers loss would put three teams within the NFC with records of 10-2 and a tie for the top of the NFC West.  A Vikings win would create a tie for the NFC North lead, however, the Packers hold the head-to-head edge over the Vikings.

The Saints hold the head-to-head advantage over the Seahawks with their week 3 victory in Seattle.

Follow Brendan Boylan on Twitter @btboylan

and continue to follow Saints News on Sports Illustrated @SaintsNews

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