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NFL San Francisco 49ers

5 Reasons Why the San Francisco 49ers Won’t Win the NFC West in 2014

5 Reasons Why The San Francisco 49ers Won't Win The NFC West In 2014

Colin Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers copy
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The San Francisco 49ers are one of the Super Bowl favorites entering the 2014 season. After coming up short of winning the Lombardi Trophy for the past three seasons, many pundits are picking the 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVIIII. However, there are a few reasons the Niners won't win the NFC West this season. Here are five reasons why the Niners won't win the NFC West.

5. Frank Gore Is Aging

San Francisco 49ers v St. Louis Rams
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5. Frank Gore Is Aging

San Francisco 49ers v St. Louis Rams
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Frank Gore is 31-years-old and is entering his 10th season as the Niners' starting running back. Gore has the second-most career carries of all active running backs. Gore's eventual decline in play is pivotal because he still remains the key to success in the 49ers' offensive game plan. The Niners heavily rely on Gore's running ability to move the chains and eat up clock. San Francisco ranked fourth in rushing but 30th in passing in 2013.

4. Changing Up The Offensive Gameplan

Anquan Boldin-Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports

4. Changing Up The Offensive Gameplan

Anquan Boldin-Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports

The Niners acquired former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson during the offseason. Entering 2014, San Francisco will have three capable receivers in Johnson, Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, Although the Niners have rarely lined up in three-receiver formations over the past few seasons, they now have the personnel in order to run such formations. Colin Kaepernick's development as a pocket passer will be key to the offense's success.

3. Offseason Distractions

Jim Harbaugh
Cary Edmondson - USA Today Sports

3. Offseason Distractions

Head Coach & Quarterback
Cary Edmondson - USA Today Sports

The Niners went through more offseason distractions than any other team in the NFL. From Colin Kaepernick's Miami incident, Aldon Smith's LAX bomb threat, and the fiasco surrounding the alleged Jim Harbaugh trade proposal, which would have seen the Niners trade head coach Harbaugh to the Cleveland Browns, the Niners had a disastrous offseason. It remains to be seen how they handle the adversity during the course of the season.

2. Early Season Absences

11. Aldon Smith (1)
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2. Early Season Absences

11. Aldon Smith (1)
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Two of the Niners' star linebackers will miss the early part of the regular season. Navorro Bowman is still recovering from an ACL tear in the NFC Championship Game, which means he'll miss the beginning of the season. Aldon Smith, one of the league's best young pass rushers, is awaiting NFL discipline for multiple legal incidents. Smith is the 49ers' best pass rusher and his five-game absence contributed to the Niners ranking 18th in sacks.

1. The Seattle Seahawks

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
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1. The Seattle Seahawks

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
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The biggest thing standing in the way of an NFC West division title for the Niners are the Super Bowl Champions from last season, the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams are evenly matched and are the best teams the NFL has to offer entering the 2014 season. However, the Seahawks are a little more balanced on offense and a little more ferocious on defense. The Seahawks enter this season better than they were last season.