Dangerous to forget about the Niners
- Updated: December 23, 2013
The NFL regular season is gradually nearing its conclusion, which means that fans and observers of the game have naturally begun to shift their focus toward the looming postseason. Spotlight has largely been focused upon the teams which many consider to be among the true frontrunners for Super Bowl contention, most notably the AFC’s Denver Broncos and the NFC’s Seattle Seahawks. Considering that those teams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack in their respective conferences for a majority of the year, it is understandable that they have been pinpointed. Perhaps some fans have somewhat overlooked one of the more dangerous teams which promises to pose a daunting challenge in the playoffs, though. Such would be the San Francisco 49ers, the defending NFC Champions which came within an eyelash of capturing the Super Bowl championship last season. Despite being overshadowed by their fellow division foe in Seattle, the 49ers still possess all the ingredients necessary to embark on another potentially deep playoff run. Those very lofty aspirations can ultimately be attributed to third-year dynamic QB Colin Kaepernick and a ferocious defense, both of which largely helped to catapult San Francisco to the Super Bowl last season.
Fans or players which overlook San Francisco as a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the postseason do so at their own peril. The 49ers demonstrated just how formidable they were last season, and essentially all the team’s primary weapons from that season remain intact. Defending against San Francisco’s high-powered attack has proven to be a major chore for opponents which have encountered the 49ers. Not only must opponents account for the downhill running of RB Frank Gore, but they must also account for the immense dual-threat capability which Kaepernick possesses. Kaepernick can be lethal when executing San Francisco’s read-option attack, as he can tuck the ball and utilize his deceptive speed and acceleration with his long-striding running style. Conversely opposing defenses must constantly be wary of Kaepernick’s rocket arm, for they remain susceptible to surrendering big plays through the air courtesy of the assortment of weapons available at his disposal. Tough sledding is essentially guaranteed for opposing offenses also, as they must constantly deal with the 49ers’ extremely stout linebackers headlined by Patrick Willis.
The NFL playoffs are lurking right around the corner, and fans have naturally begun speculating about viable contenders for the ultimate Super Bowl prize. While Seattle and Denver are undeniably worthy of the tremendous acclaim and praise which they have garnered, perhaps San Francisco is being overlooked as a legitimate threat to again reach the pinnacle of the game.
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