It’s probably smart to start off by saying that Colin Kaepernick could easily make me look a fool for predicting the San Francisco 49ers to give up their NFC West crown in 2013, marking the first time since Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke took over as head coach and general manager respectively. This would in no way shock me.
However, the tough call has been made and my crystal ball envisions a tiebreaker going to the Seattle Seahawks at 12-4, bumping San Fran down to a wild-card berth and string of road playoff games ending in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle’s utter destruction of the Niners late last season and the development of Russell Wilson to parallel Kaepernick puts these two teams about dead-even in my mind for best in the NFL. My power rankings reads Seahawks No. 1 and Niners No. 2, so please consider that 49er fans before lobbing tomatoes my way.
So after establishing that I believe Kaepernick is both the most electric running and hardest throwing quarterback in the league, let’s note that his manipulation of touch and intermediate accuracy did remain a problem area right through the Super Bowl. Correcting this could very much make up for the loss of safety blanket Michael Crabtree, who’s absence for about 75 percent of the regular season is a much bigger loss for San Fran than Percy Harvin‘s relatively similar timeline for Seattle.
Getting this far without talking about the Niners running game or defense probably seems absurd. I wanted to focus more on the X-factor areas before stating what is to me the obvious. Now that Justin Smith is healthy again and Kendall Hunter returns to a healthy (outside of LaMichael James) 49ers backfield; San Fran’s run attack and defense are a safe bet to be among the league’s best and most punishing.
Predicted Regular Season Record: 12-4 ( in NFC West)
Predicted Finish: Loss in divisional around at Seattle Seahawks