In the NFL teams are separated by mere inches. A bounce here or there can be the difference in a playoff run or picking in the top 10 of the draft. Just think in the last 2 years we’ve watched 2 teams (Giants and Ravens) that finished the regular season 9-7 and 10-6 respectively win the Superbowl while 2 other teams (Titans and Bears) finished with the same record in that season and miss the playoffs. The Bears even fired their coach.
With how close this league is and with how this season has started with injuries, off the field issues, and production on the field, have the 49ers fallen back in the pack? Coach Jim Harbaugh looked like a genius his first 2 seasons leading the 49ers to the playoffs, 2 NFC Championship appearances, as well as a Superbowl appearance, but is that all this team will accomplish? Rex Ryan had about the same type of start, and look how quickly that has fallen apart.
At this point the 49ers look like an average team that isn’t opposing their will. The running game isn’t what is has been the last few seasons and the same can be said about the defense. The receiving core outside of Michael Crabtree has been a mess for years, so with Crabtree out the majority of the season accompanied with the injury to Vernon Davis it’s no wonder why Kaepernick is scrambling around trying to make something out of nothing.
This game versus the Rams will be telling where this team is mentally and physically. The schedule offers no favor playing halfway across the country on a short week. Starting out the season 1-3 with 2 division losses could almost spell the end of the 49ers division title run and a home playoff game.
As for what I think will happen, the 49ers will find a way to win tonight, take a week and a half to find their identity and go on a nice 6 game winning streak before they play their next tough task in New Orleans. There isn’t a big enough sample size on the season despite the rough start to waive the white flag, but there are some areas of concern to keep an eye on.