San Francisco 49ers: 4 Bold Predictions for 2012
The San Francisco 49ers went from nothing in 2010 to one of the best teams in the National Football League in 2011, winning 13 regular-season games and earning a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Following a tough loss in the NFC championship game, the front office went right back to work, planning for what would be an eventful free agency period.
San Francisco has added several talented players to their roster, and they have the potential to do a lot of damage again this season.
Highlighted over the next few slides are five bold predictions for the San Francisco 49ers in 2012.
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When Randy Moss first announced that he was making a return to the NFL, I really did not think that anyone would pick him up. At this point in time, however, the Niners were hurting at the wide receiver position and probably looked at it as a low-risk, high-reward signing.
Since the Moss signing, San Francisco has also signed Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham, and they also used their first-round pick on Illinois wideout A.J. Jenkins.
Let’s give it until Week 9. They will be on their bye week and will have just had back-to-back games against Seattle and Arizona. After Brandon Browner and Patrick Peterson completely shut down Moss two weeks in a row, he will no longer be a 49er.
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San Francisco has some tough games ahead of them in 2012. They have to travel to Green Bay, New England and New Orleans, and they will also be hosting the Detroit Lions and New York Giants in an NFC championship rematch.
With this schedule, not many people will predict that the 49ers will finish 13-3 again, but I am going to go out on a limb and say they will.
What makes this prediction bold is that two of their three losses will come at the hands of division opponents.
There are some big divisional games ahead this season, including faceoffs on Thursday Night and Monday Night Football. San Francisco has it tough going into divisional matchups, with games against the Giants and New England the week before, they have to play the Seahawks then Cardinals back-to-back.
Following their breakout season, San Francisco had nine players make it to the Pro Bowl in 2012. With five prime-time games this season, including games against the AFC and NFC champions, the 49ers will have even more media coverage than they did last season.
Considering this, the talent that has been added to the roster and the players that they already had, expect at least 10 people from San Francisco to be invited to Hawaii in 2013.
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Inside linebacker Larry Grant would be a starter in a lot of other defenses, but in San Francisco, he's third on the depth chart behind both Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.
Grant got to start three games last season when Patrick Willis went down to injury, and he certainly made the most of it. Over those three games, Grant recorded 28 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and six pass defenses.
His play from last season will allow him to see a lot more of the field in 2012. Larry Grant may not start a game but will still record at least 50 tackles.