San Francisco was demolished by Seattle after blowing a 28-point lead in the second half against New England, meaning that they've been outscored 73-23 in less than six quarters. Colin Kaepernick was rattled in Seattle, and he will have to play on the road in the postseason.
Unless the 49ers get eliminated in the first round.
Arizona stands in the way of the 49ers winning the NFC West, and if San Francisco wins it, they will be the third or second seed. If they do end up being the second seed, that would likely mean a second-round matchup with Green Bay. If they are the third seed, the same thing would happen.
If the Packers beat the Vikings on Sunday, that means that Green Bay is the second seed, and that the 49ers would run into them in the second round if they win the NFC West. The 49ers would probably play the Bears as the third seed, although they could run into the Giants or Redskins.
The Giants need a few things to happen if they won, but they would present a challenge for San Francisco. They demolished the 49ers this year, and they captured the NFC Championship at Candlestick Park last year (both games were at Candlestick).
If the Redskins are the opponent, it would also be bad for the 49ers. They have won six straight and have RGIII, a running and throwing threat. Their defense has struggled, which could be good for the 49ers offense. But that would be a hard-fought, high-scoring game, no matter the location. The Redskins are talented, and they could catch the 49ers sleeping and win rather easily.
The 49ers will be challenged by all opponents, partly because of Justin Smith. He is hurt, and will not be 100 percent for the playoffs. The team performed horribly on defense without him, and they have been struggling recently.
Kaepernick doesn't look all that great right now either. There were a couple throws in the Patriots game that were almost intercepted, and he performed very poorly in the Seattle game. He doesn't have experience, and offensive coordinator Greg Roman tends to abandon the run when playing from behind (which hurts Kaepernick and the offense even more).
And, when playing teams like Green Bay and Atlanta, chances are that the 49ers will be playing from behind.
Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers aren't playing as well as they did last year, as Rogers has become a liability in the secondary. Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are lost for the year, while Vernon Davis is concussed. Michael Crabtree has done well, but he is really the only main weapon in the receiving corps.
Last year, San Francisco had a top defense with Rogers and Whitner performing well, Frank Gore and Alex Smith doing well, the offense clicking, and a spectacular all-around team. However, Kaepernick has struggled, and I don't believe that he will shine in the playoffs.
Gore's playing time has been limited, and the 49ers have a bigger issue in the return game with Ted Ginn Jr. struggling mightily. The defense isn't doing as well, and they don't seem to be the same team they were last year. Injuries to Williams, Manningham, Smith, Kendall Hunter and others have hurt the team, and I think the hole right now is too big to dig out of.
Because when you compare this team to other top-notch teams, they just don't seem to match up.
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