It’s always hard when you get swagger-jacked by the New York Giants.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS :
2011 RECORD – 13-3: San Francisco’s revival came due to the infectious nature of first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh and a bruising defense. Also, Alex Smith and the offense took exceptional care of the football throughout the year. The 49ers committed just 10 turnovers (fewest in the NFL); while forcing 38 giveaways (most in the NFL). While unspectacular, Smith threw 17 touchdown passes to just five picks; and was aided by the league’s eighth-best running attack. As discussed in our post regarding the 49ers being the Vegas odds on favorite at MGM to win the Super Bowl, the 49ers were arguably the best of the final four teams on Championship Sunday last season. Unfortunately for the Niners, a strong effort by their defense couldn’t make up for crucial special teams gaffes by Kyle Williams and poor offensive play in their OT loss to the Giants in the NFC title game. A week following one of the great games in 49er history versus New Orleans, San Francisco’s offensive potency disappeared when needed most.
LAS VEGAS ODDS TO WIN SUPER BOWL XLVII: 4/1
DON’T TAKE THIS GUY IN YOUR FANTASY DRAFT: Randy Moss. This is an anti-vote of confidence to Smith than Moss. However, I’m not buying the gospel out of San Francisco. Moss, who retired after the ’10 season, re-emerged on Twitter and UStream and eventually, San Francisco. He had the itch to play again but that doesn’t mean he’ll return to Minnesota and New England form. The Niner receiving corps was awful during the NFC title game loss to the Giants but at 35, Moss is not the guy to change them into a passing team. Just because Moss, Michael Crabtree, and Mario Manningham are in the mix, it does not necessarily mean the 49ers will morph into the 1999 Rams…especially with Smith under center.
NOTABLE GAME: October 14 vs. Giants – Jim Harbaugh will not have to stir up pregame emotion in a rematch of the NFC Championship game.
49ER YOU SHOULD FOLLOW ON TWITTER: Bruce Miller. The 49ers are a bit tame for my liking on Twitter so I opted for their 2011 seventh round draft pick and backup fullback, who talks to former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page about yoga and complains about Olympic speed walking.
At the very least, you’ll learn about DDP’s yoga program, which according to Miller, isn’t your mamma’s yoga.
WHY THEY CAN’T WIN THE SUPER BOWL: Always better to be a bride than a bridesmaid. The expression “experience is the best teacher” sometimes can be a sizable myth. For example, since the 1986 season, only four teams lost the NFC title game and advanced to the Super Bowl in the following season. The ’94 49ers, ’95 Cowboys, ’96 Packers, and ’04 Eagles, all lost the NFC Championship a year prior before getting over the hump.
As a 49ers fan, that means the odds are against you and an anvil will fall out of the sky on Alex Smith or some other noteworthy Niner.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
SONG THAT EMBODIES THE 2012 49ers: CAN I KICK IT? – A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
When one of your greatest offensive threats is a kicker, that’s a big problem (with the notable recent exception of the 2001 Patriots) for your long-term Super Bowl hopes.
After getting pushed out Philadelphia a season earlier, 49ers kicker David Akers scored 166 points (including hitting an NFL-record 44 field goals), which fell just 20 points of the all-time NFL record of 186, set during LaDainian Tomlinson’s historic 2006 run.
To put that into context, no player in 49er history scored more points in a season than Akers’s 166.
Not “The King” Hugh McElhenny. Not Jerry Rice. Not Roger Craig. Not Ricky Watters.
If the Niners want to reach a Super Bowl, that can’t happen again. Those field goals have to turn into touchdowns.