Jim Henderson's Black & Gold Breakdown: Saints vs. 49ers

Jim Henderson's Black & Gold Breakdown: Saints vs. 49ers

As the Saints and the Niners meet in the ninth game of the season for each, it's hard to say what would be more surprising: that a Saints victory would give them their first winning record of 2014 or that a loss would give the Niners a losing one.

Each is four and four. But with a two-game winning streak, the Saints appear to be rounding into form. With a two-game losing streak, the 49ers are desperate to return to the form that had them four and two two games ago.

The 49ers recently have abandoned their traditional power running game, and that includes quarterback Collin Kaepernick, who has averaged less than 22 yards rushing in the last two losses to the Broncos and Rams.

Without a ground game and playing behind a suddenly sieve-like offensive line, Kaepernick has been sacked an NFL-high 27 times - 14 in the last two games. The Rams, who had just six sacks for the season - dropped him six times in the first half alone a week ago, eight times on the afternoon. Gregg Williams sent blitzers after him 51 percent of his drop-backs.

The Saints will attempt to stretch their home field winning streak to 13 against the NFL's best road team since Jim Harbaugh arrived in 2011. A victory keeps the Saints where most thought they would be - atop the NFC South.

A loss drops the 49ers to depths no one thought they would be - on the very fringe of the playoff picture. Like the change to standard time a week ago, it's getting late early for the 49ers this season.

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