By Joe Abitanta

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the San Francisco 49ers were nearly unstoppable. They won five Super Bowl rings, and their reign didn’t end until they lost Terrell Owens in 2003, causing them to disappear from the playoff picture. But now, they’re back.

Jim Harbaugh went to San Francisco, where expectations were extremely low for a good season after Mike Singletary was fired. But, Harbaugh found a way to build the 49ers defense into one of the best in the league, and gave them a 13-3 record. Harbaugh found a way to groom Alex Smith into the quarterback he needed, and he revived the careers of Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree. His unique scheme allowed NaVorro Bowman to break out and become one of the best inside linebackers in the game.

Then, when everyone thought that they couldn’t get much better, they did. Second year outside linebacker Aldon Smith had a career year with 19.5 sacks. Their safeties, Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson, became some of the best in the league. They drafted LaMichael James, a running back who showcased his ability during the playoffs. But, in week ten, Alex Smith was injured. Colin Kaepernick, who had only been used in unique designed run packages, was forced to become the leader of the offense, and it only made them better. Their offense introduced the pistol formation, thus incorporating the read-option. Now that their offense was one of the most dynamic in the league, they were able to become even more dominant than they had been before.

In the playoffs, the 49ers went to the Super Bowl and lost to the Ravens. After the loss to the Ravens, it was clear things would be different next year in San Francisco. After Isaac Sopoaga and Dashon Goldson left, their team had holes to fill, it was just unclear how they would fill them. In free agency, they signed Glenn Dorsey and Nnamdi Asomugha, bolstering their defense. They then traded away Alex Smith, obtaining the thirty-fourth pick in the draft, and then they traded a sixth rounder for Anquan Boldin. In the draft, they drafted safety Eric Reid, defensive lineman Tank Carradine, wide receiver Quinton Patton, running back Marcus Lattimore, and tight end Vance McDonald.

So, after arguably the best team in the league had an incredible draft and great free agency, only one question remains: Can any team in the NFL beat them?

The answer: No. They have one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the game, who works perfectly with the best group of running backs in the game. Their receiving core consists of a top five tight end, and two incredibly clutch wide receivers, followed by a receiver and tight end with endless potential. They then have the best offensive line the league has seen in a while, and on the other side of the ball lies Aldon Smith and Justin Smith, who threaten the passer on a regular basis. Their inside linebackers are two of the top ten in the league, and their two starting cornerbacks are both veterans who shouldn’t be messed with in Carlos Rogers and Nnamdi Asomugha. They have hard-hitting safety Donte Whitner paired with rookie Eric Reid. And the icing on the cake, they have a phenomenal returner in LaMichael James and the best kicker-punter pair in the league in Phil Dawson and Andy Lee. And their leader, the best coach in the NFL.

Only one team in the league really has a chance to beat them, and that’s a team that they don’t face on the regular season, the Denver Broncos. Even if you factor in the 49ers difficult schedule, it’s still hard to imagine them losing, making my prediction for their season at least 14-2, making anything less, almost a disappointment.

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Doug

    The Niners won’t even win the NFC West. They lost Goldson, Crabtree, Davis (The O-Lineman), and did next to nothing to replace them. Patten is going to turn into nothing, and Boldin won’t fit in well with the scheme. Carradine was a solid pick, but they already have one of the best pass rush in the league. Eric Reid will try to fill the hole Goldson left, but will fail.
    The Hawks lost NO ONE, and got Cliff Avril, Percy Harvin, Michael Bennet, Jordan Hill, and Christine Michael. The additions of Bennet, Hill, and Avril, plus Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin, Red Bryant, and Brandon Mebane will prove a hard test for the 49ers incredible O-Line. Percy Harvin add an electrifying new step to an already fantastic offense, with an elite running back, a great QB, and now a great receiving core. Their O-Line is not as good as San Fran, but with Max Unger, Russle Okung, and John Moffit, it’s solid. Just look:

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