The big story exploding from San Francisco calls for controversy.
Colin Kaepernick or Alex Smith? The choice is not yours, but still an easy call at this point.
Alex Smith has not received medical clearance to play (at the time of this writing).
With no time to waste, reports acknowledge that Jim Harbaugh decided to assign the first-string practice snaps to the hot (and healthy) guy.
Expect Kaepernick to lead the 49ers to the Big Easy Bayou for a matchup against the New Orleans Saints that looms larger than a big plate of prawns. Expect a great game from the participants of one of last year's best playoff games. The picture will be the same with a little change to the frame.
1. The Saints lost their first four, but warmed up by winning five of their last six. Cajun-style playoff talk is simmering once again. Hold your hope Saints fans! Not only will the 49ers slow the Saints' roll, the loss will also initiate the decent from the playoff picture of the mercurial franchise. Despite their run, each of the Saints’ opponents from their previous five wins out-gained them.
San Diego (427), Tampa Bay (513), Philadelphia (447), Atlanta (454) and even the lowly Oakland Raiders (404) all gained more total yards. The Saints’ team has managed to ride high by Drew Brees’ arm despite having the worst defense in the NFL.
Only Tampa Bay gives more passing yards to an opponent. With their last six opponents prolific in one phase or another, New Orleans can only plan to out shoot each of them. They have no chance of doing so against the 49ers' top rushing offense with a defense that is tops in scoring while 2nd in total defense and versus the pass. The Saints' decline will begin Sunday afternoon at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
2. After Monday night’s big win, the 49ers will smash the gas for the rest of the season. Barring injury, expect their latest win and “wild card”, Colin Kaepernick, to propel the team to play in the last game of the season. It is ironic that the continuation of their plan will take place at the same site of Superbowl XLVII against a team hungry for redemption and thirsty to reclaim a place in the talks of the top team.
It will not happen for the Saints, nor (future opponents) the Rams, Dolphins, Patriots or Cardinals. The destiny of Jim Harbaugh may fervently incline in his skill to prompt his team to play up to their ability and beyond. The 49ers have shown that no one can beat them at their best.
3. Speaking of destiny, that for many of the greatest coaches in the National Football League were tied to a top quarterback. The struggles for Alex Smith have been chronicled. The world knows (even me) despite Smith’s progress, the 49ers’ offense is limited.
Colin Kaepernick showed in one game against one of the top defenses in the NFL how prolific the 49ers can be with him at the helm. Kaepernick’s only deficit is his youth and that will soon be eradicated with more play and tutelage.
Can Harbaugh and Greg Roman make a move with Kaepernick at this point in the season and still lead San Francisco to the Superbowl? This is a question that has likely run through their minds more than the 49ers rushing attack. The answer requires time. Nevertheless, Harbaugh will hand Kaepernick the keys for good and the 6’4” 230-pounder will have an opportunity to stake a claim in the 49ers career record books.
Yep. Time will tell. 49ers win 35-20.