San Francisco 49ers: 5 Reasons They Enter the Season Underrated

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San Francisco 49ers: 5 Reasons They Enter the Season Underrated
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
This year is Alex Smith's final chance to prove his ability to be a NFL caliber starting quarterback of a winning team.

At the culmination of the preseason, it seems the San Francisco 49ers have slipped a little in terms of people's expectations for their season. How much of it is substantiated, and how much of it is due to the coaching staff's unwillingness to open up the playbook in a meaningless preseason game?

Pete Prisco, a CBS Senior Writer, recently ranked the 49ers at #11 in his power rankings to start the 2012 season, citing that he still doesn't believe in the passing game. I thought that was unduly low considering the team's accomplishments last season, passing game or not.

Is it even fair at this point to start making judgements about Randy Moss? Mario Manningham? LaMichael James? The 49ers have grown tremendously under Jim Harbaugh's regime. Is there any reason to think that stopped in January? I don't think so, but time will tell.

Here are five factors, I think, that have led to the 49ers being ranked behind teams that perhaps they should be ahead of in the preseason power rankings.

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