ESPN published an article yesterday (for ESPN Insiders) that projected the overall records of who they think the playoff teams will be and what seeds they would hold once they get to the playoffs. Due to the poor performances of the Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals this year, the San Francisco 49ers should be able to wrap up the NFC West rather easily. The surprising part about it was that ESPN predicts that San Francisco will only lose one more game this season, leading them to an overall record of 14-2.
The 49ers' resurgence from obscurity has been noted by almost every sports media outlet in existence, but there are various opinions to how they will fare down the stretch of the season and what they will be able to do in the playoffs. Looking at the prediction of 14-2 from the perspective of being a Cardinals fan, I just don't see this as being probable.
San Francisco has already played through the meat of their schedule while only managing to get one loss in an overtime game against the Dallas Cowboys. Looking at their schedule for the rest of the season, the team will only play three teams that are likely to end up with a +.500 record.
As the ESPN article states, the defense of San Francisco is where they make their living. Their team ranks fifth overall in defensive efficiency after playing good offensive teams like the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Being that I am a Cardinals fan and have watched San Francisco at least twice a year for the past few seasons, I just don't see it. Not only is their the risk that a key player gets injured and completely takes them out of a rhythm, but you also have to deal with inconsistency and the mediocrity of certain players rearing it's ugly head.
If Frank Gore or Patrick Willis get injured, the 49ers would undoubtedly face some issues. If Alex Smith returns to his old form and the coaching staff is no longer able to mask his incompetence, their team will stumble.
They have a great chance of sweeping the division this season, but never count out the upsets. Just look at the Jaguars. Who would have thought they were going to beat the Baltimore Ravens a couple of nights ago? The same type of thing could happen since the 49ers still have yet to play a road game against a division opponent this season.
So do I think think the 49ers win the NFC West? Yes, unfortunately I do. But do I think they end up going 14-2? Absolutely not. I think too many things would have to go right for that to happen, which seems to never happen in the National Football League. I foresee them ending up somewhere around 12-4 or 11-5 if they can keep up the pace they are playing at now.
What do you think Cardinals fans? Do you think the division rival 49ers could end up going 14-2 this season? Is there anything the Cardinals can do to prevent that from happening?