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I can't have enough respect for this 49ers team or their defense. Certainly, Tom Brady has loads of it.

When the New England Patriots go to take on the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday night it will be, by far, the best defense they have faced this year.

Still, the Patriots are the top offense in the NFL. Even Jim Harbuagh said he didn't know how his team was going to stop this explosive offense.

Niners linebacker Aldon Smith? Let's just say he's confident.

Speaking to Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
Q: We asked Fangio if he enjoys facing the Patriots, and he asked us if we were sadists. When you look at the Patriots offense, do you say, “Wow, how do we stop them?” or “We can stop them.”

ALDON SMITH: We can stop them.

Q: Do the games against the Packers and the Lions give you confidence you can stop the Patriots?

ALDON SMITH: Yeah. We’ve played good offense before. This isn’t the first offense we’ve played that has talent. Tape shows what happened. We’ll just put it back on tape again.

And, well, Aldon Smith is right. The 49ers have stopped explosive offenses before. They beat the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs and earlier this year. Maybe their signature win of the year so far came in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers and defending MVP Aaron Rodgers.

What makes the Patriots different?

Its worth saying that the Pats are better than those other offenses mentioned. They've scored 49 offensive touchdowns - best in the league.

The Saints have 40 and the Packers have 35. All pretty high numbers. However, one key difference is the balance that the Patriots have compared to those two high flying offenses.

The Saints' run to pass touchdown ratio is 8-32, while the Packers' is only 5 to 30.

The Patriots on the other hand? They have a league leading 20 rushing touchdowns while adding 29 receiving touchdowns (4th in the league).

That's really the main difference - statistically - between this Patriots offense and the other top offenses around the league. At least the ones the 49ers can claim to have defeated recently. It's probably part of the reason why Harbaugh said he wasn't sure how to stop them. Do you stop the pass or do you stop the run? You've got to deal with both.

Mike Saver 12/13/2012 07:56:00 PM Edit
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