The San Francisco 49ers face a tough road ahead of them if they want to be in uniform and standing on the sidelines with their hands over their hearts during the national anthem in New Orleans' Superdome on Feb. 3. At the start of the season, the 49ers were a trendy pick to conquer the NFC, if not the outright favorite to do so.
My, how things change over the course of just a few short weeks in the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks have emerged as this year's version of the 2011 San Francisco 49ers: a team featuring a rushing attack and defense so physical and inclined toward wanton destruction that nobody without an ironclad will drawn up wants to face this postseason.
Not only that, but the Green Bay Packers are coming on strong, winners of nine of their last 11 and with the best quarterback in the conference in Aaron Rodgers playing his finest football of the year. And let's not forget the No. 1 overall seed down in Atlanta, who actually looks capable of winning a postseason game or three this season.
Along with all of the impediments to the Super Bowl residing in the NFC, the 49ers have issues on their own team that pose some serious threats to their success. No one likes people who point fingers and blame others for their own problems, so rather than examine each of the teams that stand in the 49ers' way, let's take a look inward for some genuinely hellish introspection and examine each of the factors wearing the crimson and gold that could stand in the way of the 49ers and a trip to Louisiana in one month.