[quote user="TroyArcher"][quote user="SFranciscan"][quote user="dan1552"][quote user="SFranciscan"]I think the Giants are not as reliant on special teams as the 49ers because they have such a good third down conversion rate.

One of the reason the 49ers have won so many games this season is because our special teams can not only return the ball for good field position, but we make the other team march at least 80 yards for a touchdown (which burns time off the clock, favoring defensive strengths), regularly put the ball on the five yard line, and rarely miss field goals from under 50 yards.

Special teams is not necessarily that important when Green Bay plays the Saints (unless it comes down to a field goal at the end) because it is basically a shootout. Playing a good defensive team like the 49ers or the Ravens, special teams are often the key to victory.
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Poor ball control by the Saints is Exactly the only reason ALEX SMITH did anything with 50% or less of the SAINTS balls in the RED ZONE last week.
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Look at what the Saints have done all year and what the 49ers have done all year. It is not poor ball control. It is reflective of the reality what happens when a deep passing team like the Saints meets a fumble and interception-forcing team like the 49ers. Drew Brees is a very accurate quarterback who had very few interceptions. The fact is, long passes are a high risk, high reward strategy, and even with someone as good as Brees, when you pass into the end-zone or for first downs against the 49ers defense, you are going to get more than a few turnovers. It happened to Brees, it happened to Manning, it happened to Vick, it happened to <span class="st">Roethlisberger. And, when you make the completion (because the 49ers focus on stopping the run, not the pass) your receiver better hold onto the ball really tight because our defense hits hards and forces fumbles.

Alex Smith plays a different ball game. When Manning is on third and long, his sine qua non is to get a first down. When Alex Smith is on third and long, his sine qua non is to not give the other team good field position by throwing an interception, which is why he is the highest rated quarterback this year in terms of interceptions per pass. The 49ers would rather give the ball to one of the best punters to play the game, have him put it well under the 20, and trust their defense than to use the high-risk first down passes.

However, when Alex Smith absolutely had to make the first down pass this year, he has come through, as we saw in the game against the Saints, which shows that he is capable of taking the risky shots and making them when the game is on the line.

But if you are expecting to pass the way Manning did against Green Bay and not get turnovers, well, I suggest you review the footage of the last game the Giants played in Candlestick. I would be surprised if there were less than two interceptions and four turnovers by the Giants in this game.
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Look what the Saints did this year outside the Dome. Your great defense gave up 7 more points than their avaerage outside the dome. Not very impressive.[/quote]

Other than the real grass on the field, Candlestick park was pretty much as close as you are ever going to get to a dome last Saturday with virtually no wind and a dry field (very unusual conditions for that park).

And if you are being honest, the 49ers held the Saints very well for 95% of the game. The last five minutes were two quarterbacks making desperate throws to save the game for their team and scoring 28 points that nine times out of ten probably would never have gotten up on the board.