For years people have been saying that the only reason the 49ers get to the playoffs is because they are playing in the NFC’s worst division, the Western one. With opponents like New Orleans, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Carolina the argument is not so far fetched. Except that some of these teams, are better then their records infer and there is reason to believe that the 49ers would win in other divisions too.
St. Louis is a sad sad team. They are probably the weakest in the division. They do however have a good defense, and a coach who may turn the team around if he gets the opportunity. New Orleans is also a rather pathetic team. Though this year they have picked up some former 49ers like Tyrone Drakeforde and Kevin Mitchell. They have also picked up some other players, and may be a ton better this year. Watch out for both these team's pass rushes, they just keeps getting stronger.
It wasn't to long ago that Carolina was the NFC West Champions. They were so happy with this crown, they forgot about the ultimate goal and even though they were under the impression that a dynasty was in the making, they started to go down hill. The main reason for this is that they got old fast. At first their philosophy was sign older veterans and see where they take us, well for one year it worked. This year however Carolina will be a tough team. They made some key additions mainly former 49ers William Floyd and Kevin Greene.
As Atlanta approached the end of last season, they started to show flashes of superiority. The questions are: Have they done enough in the off-season to stay competitive, or will they just fall off the ladder one more time? I think they can be a strong team, if they have built the proper foundations.
The 49ers don't need to prove anything. It is apparent though that the rest of their division does. Many of the teams, are still tough to beat, and though it may be contradictory to some people's beliefs the 49ers don't get an automatic eight wins a season. The 49ers still manage to beat other teams, both in the playoffs and the regular season, and most of those teams do have winning records. This season may be a lot tougher then ones in the past though, with Atlanta and Carolina likely to be a speed bumps in San Francisco road to the Super Bowl.