First off, the Niners sport a big goose-egg in the “W” column. Obvious indication of a bad team, no? That said, many-a-sport-analysts claim that the Niners are a “Good, Quality Football Team that doesn't deserve an 0 – 5 record.” However, the 49ers are exactly the team their record would suggest they are. Here's why:
Lets give a quick glance at the “Good teams” they've (49ers) lost too.
Seattle Seahawks: A (2 – 2) team that is, by no means, a good team. Their only other win came against the Chargers (2 - 3). . . Who recently lost to the Raiders (2 – 3). Although this was their first game of the year, it was still a beat down. The first minute of the game, the 49ers looked to be who everyone thought they'd be. Then their bubble was popped, and they came plummeting back to earth under the weight of a 25 point drubbing. Is Seattle a good team? Well, they beat the Chargers and the Niners so far, but they've lost to to Denver and St. Louis. Verdict: No, the Seahawks are less than a good team.
New Orleans Saints: The defending Super Bowl Champs are suppose to be a good team, right? Well, they sport a 3 – 2 record, which indicates they are at least above par at this point in the young 2010 NFL Season. . . Except their 3 wins came against teams with loosing Records: Vikings (1 – 3), Niners (0 – 5), and the Panthers (0 – 5). The defending champs sport losses to the (4 – 1) Falcons, and the (2 – 2) Cardinals. Notice the Trend? The Saints are only pulling W's from teams with minus .500 records. So, is the Saints narrow margin of victory over the 49ersan indication of the Niners “True Skill” against an elite Super Bowl contender or was it a pair of mediocre teams playing a sloppy football game?
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs put a spanking to the Niners. Was it surprising? Some thought so at the time, but lets look at it from another angle. The Chiefs were the last team standing on the Undefeated pedestal for the 2010 NFL Season. Is it a surprise, then, that the Niners weren't good enough to unseat the Chiefs from their Loss-Less throne?
Atlanta Falcons: This game showed the Niners have grit, but that's all it showed. The Falcons, sporting a (4 – 1) record, with their sole loss coming in overtime to the Steelers, look to be playoff bound after the first third of the 2010 season. That being said, the Falcons pulled through, and came away with the win after a tough game. That's what winners do on Sunday. Was it surprising that the (4 – 1) Falcons ground out a win against the Niners? No, it wasn't surprising. At all. What was surprising was the Win-less 49ers hung in there against an actual “Good Team.” Any Given Sunday is what they say, though.
Philadelphia Eagles: 27 – 24. From the numbers, it looks like a close loss. But if you watched the game, you'd know better. The Eagles man-handled the Niners for fifty-eight and a half minutes before the Niners stood up for themselves. Too little, too late. The fact is, the Eagles had the game under control. Despite the numbers, the Niners were dominated by a (3 – 2) Philly Football team that is only a slice above NFL Mediocrity. As expected, the dominant team dominated the match-up.
To sum it up – The perception is the Niners have lost to quality teams, by only a handful of points. The reality, though, is apparently overlooked. The Niners have lost to three middling NFL Franchise (Eagles, Saints, Chiefs), one low-range team (Seahawks), and one quality team (Falcons). At the end of the day, I find it hard to see how the Niners are a Favorite team, odds wise, this week.
Perhaps “Home Field Advantage” is the gem that gets the Niners a touchdown nod in Vegas. Then again, perhaps not. As it turns out, it's unlikely there will be many more Niner fans at the game than Raider fans. Would any analyst give the Jets a home field advantage over the Giants? You can bet this game is going to be much the same as a Jets/Giants match-up, as far as fan numbers are concerned. For those of you Geographically Challenged, Oakland is but a hop across the Bay Bridge from San Fran.
Whatever the case, despite the numbers, regardless of “expert” opinion, at the end of the day, The San Francisco 49ers are an average-to-below-average team who have been beaten by Average opponents.
Will they win this Sunday against the Raiders? Perhaps, but for anyone to assume they are the clear-cut favorites is foolish. Especially against a team that is equal-to or better-than the Niners in just about every NFL Stat.