San Francisco 49ers…Week 17…shot at a No. 1 playoff seed—welcome to the season of bold predictions for a NFL Super Bowl contender.
That's especially true of one that features the likes of Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Justin Smith and even kicker Phil Dawson who all sit on the precipice of respective career highs.
Those notable stars join a 49ers team that travels to University of Phoenix Stadium for a divisional matchup with the Arizona Cardinals during the last week of the regular season.
Thanks to their epic win over the Atlanta Falcons in the “Candlestick Closeout,” the 49ers have a postseason berth already secured.
But that also doesn’t mean their final game is without legitimate pulse-pounding implications.
San Francisco can finish as low as the No. 6 seed and as high as the top playoff qualifier in the NFC.
Beating the Cardinals is the only way the latter possibility can materialize. And losing would push the Red and Gold toward a loathsome road of three straight away games on the path to "football’s Mecca."
So, for the purposes of this article, what really denotes bold? What are its inherent definitions and connotations?
- Not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger
- Not hesitating to break the rules of propriety
- Necessitating courage or daring; challenging
- Beyond the usual limits of conventional thoughts or action; imaginative
- Striking or conspicuous to the eye; flashy; showy
And more specifically, what will qualify as bold from these San Francisco 49ers?
Looks like it’s time to find out.
Hint: Our five predictions do not include any eye-catching typefaces or letter fonts. But they will align with each of the above definitions.
Note: All advanced statistics come courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required).