Wait! How's a team that's most likely going to get a bye week going to make a quick exit?
They have a great coach in Jim Harbaugh, who has turned the San Francisco 49ers around, and a running game that's unmatched with star tailback Frank Gore, right?
This may be true, but the length of the 49ers' playoff run is going to be determined by Alex Smith, who is going to be making his first playoff appearance. It's the reason why the Niners are on this list and the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants aren't.
As mentioned in a previous slide, the list of NFL quarterbacks with a Super Bowl ring is short. Teams need a top-10 quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
As great as Harbaugh has been in utilizing Smith effectively, he's going to need to make some big throws in January. There are big question marks regarding Smith heading into his first playoff run.
Although beating the Pittsburgh Steelers was a major accomplishment, it was done when Ben Roethlisberger was severely hurt. After this Sunday, the 49ers will have played six games against the NFC West.
How significant are those wins against Arizona, Seattle and St. Louis? Do they really tell us much about the 49ers being a great team?
Let's not forget the 49ers played teams in the NFC East this year. That division is not what it was three or four years ago. In fact, the NFC East champion is going to have less than 10 wins for the first time since 1982, when only nine games were played that season.
The 49ers have made giant strides, but it's hard to imagine Alex Smith outdueling Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers.