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Was last season a fluke or a sign of things to come for San Francisco?
Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers may or may not have flirted with Peyton Manning in the offseason—depending on who you ask—but Alex Smith was retained in the end. His arsenal was given an upgrade or two as well.
The 49ers looked like they hadn't missed a beat this preseason, allowing single-digit scores in three of the four games, all of which they won. They avoided serious injuries for the most part, which is the biggest win of the offseason.
It has become a bit trendy to pick against the 49ers to win the NFC West this year with the Seahawks looking strong, but the dominant defense returns with what should be an improved offense.
Of course, the NFC has become a gauntlet; they may have another fantastic season, but getting out of the NFC will be a challenge for any contender.
Super Bowl Odds: Same as the chances that the new Bay Bridge will be completed on time.