Saints, 49ers have differences to settle

The San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints were both 13-3 this season. They will both spent Saturday afternoon at Candlestick Park in a divisional-round playoff game. Most of the similarities end there.

I've put together charts showing differences in where these teams ranked on offense and defense, with a few special-teams categories mixed in. These charts compare offenses to offenses and defenses to defenses. I'll compare offenses to defenses in a separate item.

The first chart shows where the 49ers and Saints finished in the NFL rankings for offense, sorted by spots between rankings.


2011 Offensive Rankings Differential


The second chart shows similar information for defenses. The rankings come from the NFL and reflect categories the league tracks through its Game Systems Information System.

The differences will come into clearer focus from a matchup standpoint in a future item. The 49ers' ability to hold the Saints to field goals instead of touchdowns is one obvious key given disparities in red zone touchdown percentage.


2011 Defensive Rankings Differential