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The 49ers started the Jim Harbaugh era by shocking the league with a NFC-best 13 wins in 2011. In 2012, the 49ers regular-season record regressed to 11 wins, but the team still was able to win the NFC West and secure a coveted bye week in the playoffs.
2013? The 49ers have started 2-2 and are currently tied with the Arizona Cardinals for second place in the division. As stated before, the Seattle Seahawks are a perfect 4-0 and on top of the NFC West.
Given that it's only Week 5, worrying about a .500 start and whether S.F. maintains contact with Seattle may be overreacting a bit. But if Seattle continues its strong play, the 49ers will have to rely on a wild-card slot for entrance into the postseason. Therefore, these next few games could be critical for the 49ers as they position themselves for a playoff run.
The 49ers should secure a wild card, but one has to wonder if this team has become complacent? Great teams usually suffer from this.
When you consistently have an abundant amount of success, its hard to get up for the "little" games. The Niners had just come off an emotional loss to the division-rival Seahawks when the Indianapolis Colts came to Candlestick and thrashed San Francisco. Give the Colts credit for a dominating win, but the 49ers performance was a prime example of the complacency I mentioned.
You see it all the time in the NBA, and even in the NFL. Of course, taking a night off or two in the NBA is not the same as a few lost weeks in the NFL.
In the NFL, every game counts.
We can point to injury and scheme issues, but if producing consistent effort becomes a problem for the 49ers, they can kiss their postseason chances goodbye.
If the 49ers can replicate the intensity and attention to detail they demonstrated last Thursday versus St. Louis, we could see the team string together some wins and get back into the NFC West race.