In a season that has had so many things go right for the 49ers, there's definitely one thing that has gone wrong: David Akers. Last season Akers was the best kicker in the league, according to the analysts at Pro Football Focus. He was an astonishing 44-52 on field goals and led the league with seven field goals from 50 yards-plus.
Yet, this year has been the complete opposite—Akers has only managed to make 25-of-35 attempted kicks. His 71.4 percent accuracy mark makes him the fourth-worst kicker in the NFL. Only Mason Crosby, Justin Medlock and Billy Cundiff have been less accurate through 14 games.
David Akers will remain as 49ers kicker, Jim Harbaugh said. Team will know about Justin Smith in next day or two. No word on status for Sea.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) December 17, 2012
However, thanks to Jim Harbaugh's unwavering trust in Akers, he remains the 49ers place kicker. With two games left before San Francisco's playoff run starts, it would be hard to bring someone in now. The 49ers best bet would be to draft a kicker in 2013.
It's hard for me to believe his skills have diminished this far in less than a year. To me it's more mental than physical because the leg strength is still there, he has proved that. The 49ers better hope Akers' 14-game slump comes to an end this week—they will need his best from here on out.
Bob McManaman of AZcentral.com says the Cardinals are feeling optimistic heading into Week 16.
Cooper Allen of Bleacher Report examines the Cardinals and what they need to do to fix their team in seven rounds.
Mark Purdy of the MercuryNews.com says the 49ers' biggest test comes this week at Century Link Field.
Phil G of Bleacher Report breaks down the 49ers' biggest concerns heading into the playoffs.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com reports on Richard Sherman's hearing being set for December 21st.
Chris Roling of Bleacher Report says fans should quit whining; Pete Carroll is a flat-out winner.
St. Louis Rams
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Jeff Fisher wants to keep pushing, despite being eliminated from playoff contention.
Steven Gerwel of Bleacher Report takes a look at the biggest winners and losers from Week 15.