— Florio's take: Rarely if ever has a team with high expectations imploded as quickly as the 49ers. They open their home schedule with a visit from the Saints, who will have had the longest possible non-bye-week time to prepare for the game, playing on a Thursday and next on the following Monday, 11 days later. After the game, Niners coach Mike Singletary will be thanking Sean Payton in the same way Singletary thanked Pete Carroll.
Florio's pick: Saints 30, 49ers 13.
Rosenthal's take: Weirdly dangerous game for the Saints against an ornery 49ers team. New Orleans fans don't like that I questioned their run defense this week, but one game doesn't erase all of last season and a shaky linebacker group. Luckily, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams doesn't have to get too creative to stop Alex Smith and the 49ers passing attack. Load up the box, and dare Smith to beat you. The Saints are in Payton/Brees version 5.0. The essentially can do anything they choose with a veteran group of receivers. The 49ers can't get the play calls in on time.
Rosenthal's pick: Saints 27, 49ers 21.