LOS ANGELES, August 8, 2013 — Typically around this time everybody is used to hearing predictions from the proverbial experts from the ESPN’s and Fox Sports’ for the upcoming NFL season. Most of which end up being pretty reasonable, but very SAFE opinions. Usually, the predicted winner is a team from the previous year that just came up short or a popular team from the previous season.
No one with a reputation on the line ever has the audacity to go out on a limb or against the grain. All fans get to hear are the same old, boring opinions with regurgitated logic. As the 2013-2014 season approaches, who would you expect to be the overwhelming favorites? You guessed it, none other than last year’s runner-up, the San Francisco 49ers.
Now all things being considered, there is practically nothing wrong with this pick. A betting man would think this makes for a perfectly logical and rational bet. The intention of this article is definitely not to upset any 49er fans out there, but to provide a sound logical explanation as to why the 49ers will not win this year’s Super Bowl.
Everyone can agree that the 49ers are an extremely talented team, but there are some key loses that will really hurt them this year. One of them being Delanie Walker. At 6‘1”, 248 lbs and running a 4.4/40 Delanie is a physical freak of nature, and a nightmare to match up against for most linebackers and safeties. Outside of Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, he was their most dangerous threat in the passing game.
He also came through in the clutch for them in big games on special teams as a gunner and kick returner. When teams are usually even matched, it will always come down to the battle of special teams to decide a winner. Delanie will not be easily replaced.
Then there is Michael Crabtree, the team’s top wide receiver, who is out for the season with an Achilles injury. Crabtree had an amazing season last year with 85 catches and over 1,100 yards receiving, not to mention nine touchdowns. Who will step in to fill this massive loss? An aging Anquan Boldin? Mario Manningham, perhaps? Since Jim Harbaugh has taken over, the 49ers have battled through a lot of adversity, but these are two major cogs in the offense that are now gone.
The 49ers benefitted from one of the weaker schedules in the league in 2012, padding their Wins column with dominating wins over the Jets, Bills, Cardinals, and Dolphins. This year they have the ninth toughest schedule in the league, and the road back to the NFC West championship will not be as easy.
With games against the Falcons, Packers, Texans, and Saints there could easily be two or three losses right there. Couple that with a now stronger than ever NFC West division and with Seattle lurking in the shadows, they could be 10-6 by the end of this season. Yikes.
At quarterback, Colin Kaepernick’s style of play is electrifying, and quite exhilarating for the game. One of the things we tend to forget about QBs in the NFL is that teams will usually start to figure out tendencies by the second season. Not to discount the miraculous run he had last year, but opposing defenses did not really have much scouting material on him last year.
You best believe the tape from last year’s Super Bowl will be studied intensely to try and pick apart his game. He has lost two major offensive weapons in the offseason and this puts even more pressure on him to produce. Kaepernick has now made a name for himself in the league, and teams will be gunning for him, looking to make him beat them more with the pass than the run. If they learned anything from last year’s Super Bowl, it ultimately served as a winning strategy for the Ravens.
The 49ers are very thin at the cornerback position, and are actively seeking an upgrade at the position. Rodgers and Brown will most likely remain the starters, but in the offseason, they have brought in the mercurial Nnamdi Asomugha.
The secondary has been a huge weakness for them, especially the playoffs, in a league that is dominated by passing. Even after signing Asomugha, there is still some cause for concern among the secondary coaches. Is Nnamdi still good enough to play corner? Is rookie Eric Reid really the answer to their woes at free safety? Not the kind of questions you want to have going into the season with the Niners’ schedule.
Let us toast another NFL season, but sorry 49er fans, you more than likely will not win the Super Bowl this year. Cheers.
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