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PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 1: San Francisco 49ers

Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Willis AP

The San Francisco 49ers earn the top spot in our preseason power rankings after a trip to the Super Bowl last season.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took over the helm midseason and was able to get the 49ers past their NFC Championship game appearance of 2011 and back to the game’s biggest stage. While the 49ers ultimately fell a few plays short of a title, they enter the 2013 season as a championship contender once again.

The 49ers will need to stem the tide of injuries to key players early in the season and find adequate replacements for a few departed veterans. They’ll also have to navigate perhaps the toughest division in the NFL but the outlook for the 49ers is still rosy as training camp gets underway.

Strengths.

The 49ers offensive line has been among the best in the league for several seasons. The starting group of Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone and Anthony Davis started all 16 games last season. Staley and Iupati both were selected to the Pro Bowl last season with Boone as an alternate. Adam Snyder is a veteran that should be able to fill-in adequately at guard should either Iupati or Boone go down with an injury as well.

San Francisco linebackers are also among the strongest units in the league. As with the offensive line, the linebacking corps for the 49ers was remarkably durable as the four starters each started all 16 games last season. Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman form a formidable tandem inside and Aldon Smith has quickly become one of the best pass rushers in the league in his first two seasons. Parys Haralson is returning after a torn triceps forced him to miss all of last season and third-round pick Corey Lemonier adds even more depth to an already strong group.

Weaknesses.

With Michael Crabtree out for the foreseeable future with a torn Achilles and Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams on PUP while working back from ACL tears, the 49ers have serious questions at the wide receiver position. Anquan Boldin is a solid veteran option but he’s adjusting to his new team. A.J. Jenkins saw just one target in a wasted rookie season. The 49ers need Jenkins, Ricardo Lockette or fourth-round pick Quinton Patton to become contributors to bridge the gap until Crabtree and Manningham get healthy.

Vernon Davis is one of the best tight ends in the game. However, the loss of Delanie Walker to Tennessee will be a blow – especially if Davis is needed to help at receiver with the mounting injuries outside. Garrett Celek appeared in 13 games last season but isn’t much of a receiving option. Second-round pick Vance McDonald could fill the role of the departed Walker and be the complementary tight end the 49ers need.

Changes.

The trade to acquire Anquan Boldin from the Ravens this offseason has become a pivotal move for the 49ers following the Achilles injury to Crabtree. Manningham and Williams are still working back from knee injuries and Boldin will be the only option with any real experience and proven production until they can return. San Francisco added cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and safety Craig Dahl to add depth on the defensive side of the ball. Kicker Phil Dawson looks to solidify a position that was wildly inconsistent with David Akers last season.

Quarterback Alex Smith left to take over the starting job for the Kansas City Chiefs. The 49ers signed Colt McCoy from Cleveland to serve as the backup for Kaepernick. Tight end Delanie Walker left in free agency to sign with the Tennessee Titans. Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and safety Dashon Goldson signed a lucrative contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Camp battles.

Cornerback should be one of the more intriguing battles of camp for the 49ers. Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers starters all 16 games for the 49ers last year but should see competition from Asomugha for playing time. Chris Culliver also was a decent contributor for San Francisco at times last season and will be in the mix as well.

With the departure of Sopoaga to the Eagles, the 49ers will need to find a replacement along the defensive line. Dorsey is expected to compete with Ian Williams for the starting nose tackle job though Dorsey doesn’t have the traditional size attributed to a 3-4 nose tackle. Lamar Divens may have an outside shot at competing for the job as well if Dorsey or Williams don’t grab hold of the spot.

Prospects.

The San Francisco 49ers have one of the strongest rosters in the league and could be playing their best at the end of the season after players return from injuries. They’ll miss Crabtree early in the year and the receiving corps is very shaky with Manningham and Williams also working back from injuries. All three are likely to be back at some point during the season and the 49ers should be able to bridge the gap with enough victories to be in the playoff picture until they return. The running game will have to take on additional weight in the interim but Frank Gore and company should continue to shoulder the load well with Kaepernick bringing an added dimension as well.

The 49ers have been the benefactors of remarkable durability over the past few seasons, especially defensively and along the offensive line. Is the Crabtree injury a precursor of issues to come?  The 49ers should expect a serious fight for the NFC West from the rival Seattle Seahawks as well and an improved St. Louis Rams team could continue to cause problems for the 49ers this season. At full strength the 49ers are as talented as any team in the league and should be in the hunt to make the Super Bowl once again.

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125 Responses to “PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 1: San Francisco 49ers”
  1. dexterismyhero says: Jul 24, 2013 3:03 PM

    Nope!!!

  2. sampsonswag01 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:04 PM

    ….and commence hate now.

  3. Steeley McBeam says: Jul 24, 2013 3:05 PM

    This is correct.

  4. jazsrt says: Jul 24, 2013 3:06 PM

    Great picture.

  5. mattsffrd says: Jul 24, 2013 3:06 PM

    WHO’S GOT IT BETTER THAN US?

  6. adam710 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:08 PM

    Well-deserved placing. Great team last year, will be even better this year.

  7. bigcali4life says: Jul 24, 2013 3:09 PM

    I always knew the guys at PFT were smart. Before everyone comes in a cries why other teams should be number one, just remember it is a preseason ranking. A million things will happen over the season.

    And before the ” fluke/can’t get their again” crowd shows up, remember a lot of you also said the Niners would crash last year and would not make the playoffs again let alone the Super Bowl. Enjoy the season and may the best team win.

  8. mitigationator says: Jul 24, 2013 3:09 PM

    Great picture.

  9. jeremywflores says: Jul 24, 2013 3:10 PM

    Stacked roster, great at drafting, stockpiling picks, and a crazy but awesome coach.

    It’s nice to see the 49ers in the spotlight again.

  10. YouMadCauseImStylingOnYou says: Jul 24, 2013 3:11 PM

    How could they possibly be number one?

    I heard all offseason that Colin Kaepernicks head attire was going to tear this franchise apart.

  11. 49erstim says: Jul 24, 2013 3:12 PM

    Let the butthurt begin. ……lol

  12. jimmyt says: Jul 24, 2013 3:12 PM

    Can’t wait!

    Signed:

    The Saint Louis Rams

  13. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Jul 24, 2013 3:12 PM

    If Kaepernick stays humble and healthy they can be a great team for years.

  14. bucrightoff says: Jul 24, 2013 3:13 PM

    If Kaep isn’t everything he was at the end of last year the 49ers could be in for an 8-8 season. Tough division, first place schedule and a lot more pressure and attention.

  15. geemoney713 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:13 PM

    I personally would have put Denver at #1 without the Von Miller suspension, but this one is hard to argue with.

  16. fanofevilempire says: Jul 24, 2013 3:14 PM

    Colin said he will wear his Dolphins hat
    tonight when he goes to dinner.

  17. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 24, 2013 3:14 PM

    The number #1 team may not even win its own division…..

    NFCW may have gone from the easiest division in football to the toughest in just 3 years….

  18. arrowgargantuan says: Jul 24, 2013 3:16 PM

    These dudes are stacked. Scary.

  19. unbiasfan says: Jul 24, 2013 3:17 PM

    Breaking News: All the 49ers players will now be wearing Miami Dolphins hats when not on the field

  20. qweststrike2008 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:18 PM

    WR is way too big of an issue for the 49ers.

    Plus Kap can’t decide which team he wants to represent. These guys will be lucky to get a wild card considering how strong the Hawks are.

  21. bobonmycob says: Jul 24, 2013 3:20 PM

    lol if you honestly think the 49ers are going to win the super bowl this year pass me what your smoking please!

  22. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jul 24, 2013 3:21 PM

    Given the off season moves and draft, I can’t argue with the 49ers being ranked preseason number one. But hey that’s why they play the games. No one knows.

  23. myosin10 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:24 PM

    We are solid everywhere except WR. Why didn’t we sign Chaz Schillens or how about Austin Collie or Brandon Llyod just for some depth? There also has to be a team looking to trade a WR that we could send a pick too I mean we are stacked with picks again next year.

    If Manningham and Williams can play week 1 we will be fine but if not we are going to be relying heavy on the run game and rookie WRs.

    Also don’t sleep on Arizona with Palmer at QB they finally have an adequate passing game to go along with that stout Defense. They might be #2 in the division right below SF and beating Seattle into third or fourth!!

  24. contra74 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:25 PM

    The 9er’s flat out embarassed and exposed the Packers last year. Looks like the 9er’s have a legit shot at a superbowl this year.

  25. cali49er707 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:26 PM

    These power rankings are nice but don’t
    mean $#!+. If you don’t believe me then research last years PFT pre-season power rankings & you will see how the Eagles were number#8. Lol

    They can rank the 9ERS where ever they want but, I would rather be number 1 at the end of the season then in the pre-season.

    #Loyal fans pick their team on Madden. So stay the hell off my team when we meet online.

  26. channer81 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:26 PM

    Way too high a rating… Oh who am I kidding…

  27. slugdub says: Jul 24, 2013 3:28 PM

    49ers = decliners.

    Window closed when they lost in the superbowl

    3rd in NFC West behind STL and SEA

  28. ColtsWinColtsWin!! says: Jul 24, 2013 3:29 PM

    Yea, enjoy it while you can cause youll be lucky to sniff the playoffs this year.

  29. jrock3x8 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:30 PM

    you wonder if even tim tebow could succeed under jim harbaugh…

  30. jrock3x8 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:31 PM

    and how exactly is STL going to make the playoffs??!?!

    you guys are NUTS.

  31. rtp295 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:32 PM

    As a Packers fan gotta say the 49ers are loaded, defiantly had our number last year, no denying that. I think both teams improved through the draft, can’t wait for week one!

  32. clownsfan says: Jul 24, 2013 3:33 PM

    SEA beats SF in the NFC title game.

  33. 1newprodigy says: Jul 24, 2013 3:33 PM

    Bengals vs niners bowl 3. No joe montana this time either.

  34. 16to87 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:34 PM

    Niners are No.1!! …says Freddy P. Soft

  35. buzzkillbill says: Jul 24, 2013 3:34 PM

    SF gets the nod from PFT, Seattle gets the nod from ESPN. Sounds like this is going to be as much fun as it gets.

  36. ninerfan81 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:36 PM

    We’ll slip a bit this season because everyone will be gunning for us, I think we’ll go 11-5 and compete for the Division, Seattle has done some very good things on Defense, if we get a split with them thats a win. We really really need a home playoff game this season, I truly believe that. The article mentioned we have been incredibly durable, that takes alot of luck but i’m not so worried about it on the O-Line or with Crab as I am with the D-Line, quiet as kept, that was the great differentiator for us last season, when we were sacking the QB we were unstoppable, even in the SB we showed an inability to get to the passer which ultimately led to too much pressure on the zone and big plays…if we disrupt on the D-Line again, mail it in, we’re going back…if we play average, we go 10-6 and struggle to win the West.

  37. paythevig says: Jul 24, 2013 3:36 PM

    Niner Fan here,

    Pre-season rankings mean nothing, but really – football fans – with all grudges, personal dislikes, resentment and rivalries asside; how could an honest spectator (because no one posting on the site is anything more than a spectator) say that this team does not have the talent to succeed deep into the post-season.

    This doesn’t take away anything from the Seahawks, Falcons, Pats, Broncos, Packerts etc… but be honest- where’s the respect? I personally dislike the teams that i’ve mentioned, but can’t hoenestly say that i wouldn’t want Wilson, Brady, Manning, Rodgers etc.. on my team. These guys are amazing at what they do.

    There are 5-7 really good, 10 pretty good, and 5 decent and give or take 5-7 bad teams based on the 2012 season.

    The way some people here call it – san fran is an 8-8 team. Really? why? they took no one by surprise last year… Yea, they’ve been really bad from 2003 – 2010; a lot of mismanagement during those years. But gradually they seem to have built something that so far is proving to be sustainable and set up for some long term success. Respect a good team when you see one. It’s all part of the cycle.

  38. myosin10 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:36 PM

    I love hearing how SF can’t repeat the success. That’s what everyone said last year too and we made it to the SB while your team watched! We have the most exciting QB at the moment with the best OL in the NFL and a great run game not to mention one of the top Defenses in the league!

    We may have lost Crabtree our top WR but guess what we have one of the best TE combos with Davis and Macdonald and a solid vet Boldin that catches everything at WR. As long as Manningham or Williams come back we will be fine, not to mention Jenkins coming off his red shirt year and Patton who both may be stars for a long time with Kaep slinging them the ball.

    NFC West standings.
    #1 SF
    #2 Arizona (Palmer was the missing piece)
    #3 St Louis
    #4 Seadderall (without PEDs watch them sink)

  39. lbpackfan says: Jul 24, 2013 3:37 PM

    contra74 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:25 PM

    The 9er’s flat out embarassed and exposed the Packers last year. Looks like the 9er’s have a legit shot at a superbowl this year.

    ————————————————–

    …and Green Bay destroyed the Vikings a week earlier. So apparently Vikes are a LONG ways from being a contender.

  40. hopper15 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:39 PM

    Niners have very good personnel and a very good caching staff, this isn’t surprising.

  41. dougydougdoug says: Jul 24, 2013 3:39 PM

    Coach Jim is impressive. The guy comes in, takes over a team. largely unchanged from his predecessor, and takes them to the SuperBowl in his second season. In fact, his work with Stanford is almost more impressive.

    I’m most definitely NOT a 49′s fan. But only a fool would take them lightly, or not believe that Harbaugh is an amazing head coach.

  42. kaferwerks says: Jul 24, 2013 3:44 PM

    haven’t seen their schedule.
    but they will probably start strong, Kaep will get hurt by mid season, defense and run game will keep the games close. 9ers lose in the wildcard.

  43. leftygun says: Jul 24, 2013 3:47 PM

    Take a look at history to see how the superbowl loser did the following season.

  44. kapdatruth49ers says: Jul 24, 2013 3:47 PM

    Window closed? With an avg roster with the age of 27? Must be a seattle fan?

    I like reading how kap and the ninersa are going to decline essentially because of kaps impending decline and russel wilson and the seahawks is a sure fire bet to keep improving.

    Seems to me both guys are hard workers and actually put in time in the film room unlike guys like cam newton who think talent will be enough.

    I could easily see the NFC West put 3 teams in the playoffs.

    Btw Power Rankings mean squat its just for trolls to hate on and care about. lol.

  45. grendelg says: Jul 24, 2013 3:47 PM

    That’s a lot of faith to put in a guy who’s started 10 games and shows a surprising lack of maturity.

  46. pluto92 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:49 PM

    Deserving of #1 but I am curious to find out if teams have developed a good strategy to use against the pistol this year.

  47. glazerh8er says: Jul 24, 2013 3:51 PM

    I would say it’s hard to rank a team #1 with a receiving corps this poor in today’s NFL.

  48. jayniner says: Jul 24, 2013 3:57 PM

    And there it is….the highly anticipated Niners in the #1 spot!!

    The only way to make that picture better would have been to put Rodgers in an Alex Smith jersey…..

  49. bpurd says: Jul 24, 2013 3:58 PM

    SF is solid everywhere but reciever. Well Seattle is solid everywhere period. SF great drafting. Please. Last year 1st round pick. Jenkins had one target in which he dropped. I don’t want to here cause they are a deep squad. They had injuries at WR qnd he still couldn’t see the field. Seattle number 1 pick led all rookies in sacks. I could see denver at 1 but not SF. Seattle will when that division. If crabtree was healty I could understand but he is not. Their best wr would be 4th on Seattle depth chart.

  50. fissels says: Jul 24, 2013 3:58 PM

    I’m not a niners fan but I can’t help but admire the way they put this team together. Solid, top to bottom with good coaching to boot. I wish em luck!

  51. deathonwings410 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:58 PM

    Ravens should be number. The Broncos will have a shaky secondary with no pass rush and the Forty Whiners will have a leaky secondary and no wide receivers. The Ravens are more complete than both and have a better QB than both the old choker and the flash in the pan kid who DC will have figured out this year.

  52. iced107 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:01 PM

    Lol wow! High ranking for a pass rusher who doesn’t get a sack without Justin smith holding the guard for them and kaepernick who struggles getting past his 2nd read. But hey , its okay when your #1 team gets blown out by a rival team at the end of the season right ? And almost swept by the rams.

    Joke of a ranking

  53. oakfolk says: Jul 24, 2013 4:01 PM

    I put SEA a tad above SF.

  54. jakafett says: Jul 24, 2013 4:04 PM

    —————
    49ers = decliners.

    Window closed when they lost in the superbowl

    3rd in NFC West behind STL and SEA

    —————–
    Its funny to see all the detractors, aka haters for the kids, commenting so negatively against the Niners. I am a Niner fan, I think they are really good but think they do have a potential to fall back some. That being said it is laughable and sophmoric to see the surprise and angst people have at them being number 1. Why is it hard to believe that a team, that is loaded, fairly young at most positions, that has been knocking on the door and has a really good coach and staff would be considered a favorite to win it all?? Shows the lack of accumen of most fans…lets just say “you suck, my team this and that”. The Broncos, Seahawks and a couple of other teams are just as legitimate contenders. We will see it played out…for all we know it could be Carolina vs Cleveland in the bowl.

  55. Frazier28/7 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:04 PM

    Where’s your list for all 32?

  56. wakaflockaflacco says: Jul 24, 2013 4:05 PM

    Who’s got it better than us?!

    John Harbaugh and the Ravens!

  57. jakafett says: Jul 24, 2013 4:07 PM

    SF is solid everywhere but reciever. Well Seattle is solid everywhere period. SF great drafting. Please. Last year 1st round pick. Jenkins had one target in which he dropped. I don’t want to here cause they are a deep squad. They had injuries at WR qnd he still couldn’t see the field. Seattle number 1 pick led all rookies in sacks. I could see denver at 1 but not SF. Seattle will when that division. If crabtree was healty I could understand but he is not. Their best wr would be 4th on Seattle depth chart.

    ——-
    other than jerry rice name a team that one because their wr carried them. even with jerry it was a the “team” that made it happen. who is to say wilson won’t regress, and that the league won’t be taken the seahawks likely. a lot different playing as the hunted now. the niners now that, and last time i checked their o-line was miles ahead of the Hawks, so lets not act as if the Niners are inferior to them talent wise.

  58. wgray981 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:08 PM

    Yeah right. The media always blows their load over rookie or 1st year starting QBs. Defenses always figure them out…I bet at least 2/4 “1st year sensations” from last year (Wilson, Kap, RG3, and Luck) have crap years.

  59. sampsonswag01 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:09 PM

    bpurd says:
    Jul 24, 2013 3:58 PM
    SF is solid everywhere but reciever. Well Seattle is solid everywhere period. SF great drafting. Please.
    _________________________________

    Seattle ISN’T solid everywhere but shhhhh don’t tell that to the northwesters’. Their linebacking corp is average with def a strong d-line and great secondary. The O-line ISN’T solid; it’s average but by no means on par with SF’s. And the irony is this: the WR corps is better than the 49ers but not by much. Sydney Rice hasn’t done anything since leaving Minnesota. Golden Tate is known more for his offseason blunders than on-field production. Percey Harvin has never had a 1,000 season his whole career. He’s dynamic in special teams but wait until the crowd noise kicks his migraines back in.

    What’s funny is Seattle is going to get throttled by Carolina on their opening game because they’re so worked up over San Francisco. The only thing their djs can talk about is Harbaugh, Harbaugh, Harbaugh. When you are THAT much in the psyche of a team and city lurks a very dangerous potential to be easily deflated should you lose week 2.

    It’ll be a lot of fun to watch! Rams, 49ers and Hawks will be throw-down fights for sure.

  60. tinbender2000 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:09 PM

    arrowgargantuan says: Jul 24, 2013 3:16 PM

    These dudes are stacked. Scary.

    With what “stacked” used to mean, dudes that are stacked in SF does sound scary :)

  61. bpurd says: Jul 24, 2013 4:15 PM

    Harbaugh is a good coach but don’t go overboard. That roster was loaded when he took over. Besides 10 games from Kaep it’s pretty much the same group as Singletary had. They don’t develope players in house.

  62. granadafan says: Jul 24, 2013 4:15 PM

    Our traditional rival is the Rams, starting when they were in LA and now in St Louis. Seadderall is NOT a rival, but has been making some noise lately and has a very solid team. The Cardinals are building a very tough defense as well. The NFC West is the toughest in the league. Whoever comes out on top will be well prepared to handle any other team in the league.

    Kaepernik did a fantastic job last year considering he didn’t even have the benefit of being the 1st string QB during camps. We just need to keep him and Frank Gore healthy.

  63. contra74 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:16 PM

    lbpackfan says:
    Jul 24, 2013 3:37 PM
    contra74 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:25 PM

    The 9er’s flat out embarassed and exposed the Packers last year. Looks like the 9er’s have a legit shot at a superbowl this year.

    ————————————————–

    …and Green Bay destroyed the Vikings a week earlier. So apparently Vikes are a LONG ways from being a contender.
    ——-
    And the Vikings beat GB the week before that so that means you are a longer way away…see we can go on playing this game.

  64. sidk1121 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:19 PM

    I still can’t believe the Ravens gave Boldin away so easily

  65. thesportgenius says: Jul 24, 2013 4:20 PM

    Sorry all you haters but games are won in the trenches. Niners have a premiere O line, one of the best TEs, and 3 talented RBs lead by Gore who is also a great blocker and a bruising FB Miller. Boldin is a stud, always has been. Plenty of competition for the remaining ONE spot left on offense. Then you have CK7 with a cannon arm, runs faster than a speeding bullet and is only going to get better with Harbaugh the QB whisperer mentoring him and a full off season with #1 reps.

    Plus special teams were upgraded significantly since last season with Dawson, Skuta, Dahl, Osgood…etc.

    Then we go to a Defense that arguably has the best front 7 in the NFL that was upgraded with Dorsey, Harelson coming back and draft picks. The only significant departure is Goldson. How much of his shoes can be filled by #1 pick Reid will remain to be seen but this is a stacked unit.

    Lots of good players wont even make the final cut and will be playing for other teams by the time the season starts.

    So there you have it…solid in all 3 phases and deserving of a #1 ranking.

  66. pftisterrible says: Jul 24, 2013 4:21 PM

    The Niners have great talent at many position groups, but they also have way too many question marks in the secondary and at wide receiver to be at the top of these rankings.

  67. steelers4385 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:22 PM

    The got torn up in playoffs with their overrated pass defense. And their pass rush wasnt to impressive either. I hate the ravens. Dirtbag city and team. But come on…they beat the niners…i mean atleast give it to them untill proven otherwise. Niners are so overrated. I think seahawks are better. And wilson played a whole season and lead his team to playoffs so he is more proven.

  68. tdk24 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:22 PM

    And this shows why the Superbowl winning team can not be predicted.

  69. youarejealousof6rings says: Jul 24, 2013 4:22 PM

    LOL

  70. chrismatthewsucks says: Jul 24, 2013 4:24 PM

    You have an old aging DE, who if he gets ding the defense stinks. You lost a top 5 safety in the league, you lost the #1 receiver with the most yards in the division, you lost D. Walker a good DE, and they are #1? I wouldn’t be surprised if they crawl into the playoffs.

  71. lutch57 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:32 PM

    Best OL, DL, Linebacking core, running game and coaching in the league.

    Top 5 tightend, emerging QB, improved special teams…….Niners are the clear cut number one if not for some blatant holds(there were many but the last four plays of the game and the Jones run back come to mind) The Niners were superbowl champs.

  72. skippynj says: Jul 24, 2013 4:32 PM

    Awesome. This will just make their losing an even more bitter spill to swallow-and if there’s one thing they know how to do in Frisco, it’s swallow.

  73. ruvelligwebuike says: Jul 24, 2013 4:33 PM

    The first 6 weeks will tell us a lot about this team. Delanie Walker was one underrated TE and he bailed Kaepernick out of a lot of situations. Gore is a year older. Justin Smith is just old. And the wideout situation is ugly until at least Week 7.

    Harbaugh…great coach, loose cannon. If they start out 2-4, he might go into one of his tailspins he’s so famous for. Someone put Jim Kelly, the Bay Area reporters, and campus security on notice because Ol’ Jim will be on one of his benders again.

  74. lutch57 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:34 PM

    1. Niners
    2. Falcons
    3. Broncos
    4. Green Bay
    5. Pats

  75. psuorioles says: Jul 24, 2013 4:34 PM

    mattsffrd says:
    Jul 24, 2013 3:06 PM

    WHO’S GOT IT BETTER THAN US?

    _______________________________

    The Ravens do… they are the SB Champs.

  76. mrgrant23 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:35 PM

    I liked it better when they didn’t give my team, the 49ers, credit because we had something to prove. But i do like the fact that they finally recognize we are a good team. Our first successful season was luck and then we make the super bowl so now at least we have recognition. so the Sea-Chickens now have something else to talk about because they are currently over hyped and think they will have a great season! shut up sea-chickens and recognize greatness!!!

  77. truckenlauten says: Jul 24, 2013 4:37 PM

    They need a quarterback. This kid only played 8 or 9 games and 49er fans are thinking he is in the top 5 of quarterbacks. You had better hope that he will be able to run again because he is not much of a passer. He is a one year wonderer.

  78. bpurd says: Jul 24, 2013 4:37 PM

    I usually would go with the champs but the Ravens lost to much to them the favorites. Talent wise maybe not top 10. I wonder hpw many other teams would have made to the playoffs if their QB played like Joe Flacco did doing the regular season. I guarantee you none in the NFC. A favorable AFC schedule gave them a chance and they made the most out of it. I want put my money on Joe. Maybe he will fool is again.

  79. Great Caesar's Ghost says: Jul 24, 2013 4:37 PM

    They’re the team to beat in the NFC, that’s for sure.

  80. braceyourselffor12 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:39 PM

    A bold move to place them at #1 but you’d have to be a shameless homer to deny the strength and potential of this team.

    Yes the only area that was weakened this off season was our receiving corp, but in 2011 Alex Smith and an efficient run game got us to the NFC Championship. Kaep while a dynamic QB adds an extra dimension but does not change our identity. Jim Harbaugh and Co. will utilize the run and limit Kaep’s pistol plays until our top receivers are back.

    St. Louis and Seattle may give us a run for our money but this division is sneaking up on no one this year so … Brace Yourselves. Damn I can’t wait for football!

    GO NINERS!!!!!

  81. dwarftosser says: Jul 24, 2013 4:43 PM

    I don’t agree with the majority of your rankings, but the 49ers are clearly the #1 team going into the preseason. The scariest thing about that team is that they have an great mobile QB who looks like he had an even better arm last year. If Kaep keeps throwing with the confidence and precision he did last year this offense is going to put up some scary numbers.

  82. badkarma56 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:46 PM

    REALLY? WHO THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE RANKED ANYWHERE ELSE?

    Our o-line beats you up, our rbs beat you up, our LB’s just clean your clocks, hell even our coach will slap the s#!t out of your back because we we won.

    Wr at the beginning of the season is no where near as important as WR at the end of season, so lets not sink the whole season because we are shorthanded a few of the 1st games, between Gore, Hunter, James and Kaep, we can lean on the run early.

    And lastly will everyone please get off the Seahawks jock strap? Mark my words the Seahawks will implode this year just the eagles “dream team” and that one year when Dan Snyder brought Bruce Smith and a bunch of other big names and completely tanked the season! Besides without the PEDs, the seahawks are an 8-8 AT BEST!

  83. jakafett says: Jul 24, 2013 4:49 PM

    The got torn up in playoffs with their overrated pass defense. And their pass rush wasnt to impressive either. I hate the ravens. Dirtbag city and team. But come on…they beat the niners…i mean atleast give it to them untill proven otherwise. Niners are so overrated. I think seahawks are better. And wilson played a whole season and lead his team to playoffs so he is more proven.

    ——————

    You have an old aging DE, who if he gets ding the defense stinks. You lost a top 5 safety in the league, you lost the #1 receiver with the most yards in the division, you lost D. Walker a good DE, and they are #1? I wouldn’t be surprised if they crawl into the playoffs.

    ———————

    so top first….they got beat up because three fourths of the dline were hurt. all had surgery after the season…they just didn’t cry about it. all secondaries are helped by a pass rush. hence the drafting of several potential role players to starters that will help that rotation be less reliant on four guys.

    second, they did lose alot and Justin Smith is a huge key. Crabtree’s absence does hurt, however you are talking about a second string tight end and a safety otherwise. It is obvious that Baalke and Harbaugh know talent. My assumption is they have people they feel can fill the gap and support the stars they have at EVERY OTHER POSITION.

    Watch Carradine, Lemonier and McDonald contribute. And Patton will be a nice surprise. Not saying they are HOFer’s but more depth is on this team than even last year.

  84. lbpackfan says: Jul 24, 2013 4:49 PM

    contra74 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:16 PM

    lbpackfan says:
    Jul 24, 2013 3:37 PM
    contra74 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:25 PM

    The 9er’s flat out embarassed and exposed the Packers last year. Looks like the 9er’s have a legit shot at a superbowl this year.

    ————————————————–

    …and Green Bay destroyed the Vikings a week earlier. So apparently Vikes are a LONG ways from being a contender.
    ——-
    And the Vikings beat GB the week before that so that means you are a longer way away…see we can go on playing this game.

    —————————————————

    I was expecting a “we had Joe Webb at QB” excuse. Good for you for not playing that card.

  85. blackfootkiller says: Jul 24, 2013 5:02 PM

    Wouldn’t trying to find a helmet big enough for Kap’s newly swollen head be considered a weakness?

  86. tindeaux says: Jul 24, 2013 5:08 PM

    perhaps this will make the 49er fans happy but reality is that 49ers choked in the superbowl last year. That’s the only thing that matters.

  87. jimmysee says: Jul 24, 2013 6:07 PM

    It has been a long climb back from irrelevancy for the ‘Niners.

    Welcome to the top.

    Now you gotta defend it!

    Week in and week out.

    (That’s half the fun.)

  88. bigjim50010 says: Jul 24, 2013 7:35 PM

    considering the fire sale Baltimore just had, this makes sense. pre season, pre training camp, pre first game played… it makes sense.

  89. majormike1 says: Jul 24, 2013 7:44 PM

    An almost not-touched punt kept the 49ers out of the Super Bowl in 2012, they came up 5 yards short of winning it in 2013, so come on 2014!

  90. bpurd says: Jul 24, 2013 7:51 PM

    Why people hating on Kap. For a guy who only started half of season and is already the second best qb in his division is pretty good. Once he is able to get past his 2nd read, He will be much better. Wilson may not be as athletic but he is a better QB. Seahawks and the Broncos have the least amount of questions.

  91. kobekong says: Jul 24, 2013 8:17 PM

    They have to try to build upon the success from last season. But if Colin is a fraction improved, the league will have their hands full. Harbaugh has already shown that he is a top coach in the NFL with the personnel to back it up. I like their chances.

  92. ytownjoe says: Jul 24, 2013 10:00 PM

    Got this one right.

  93. decon49 says: Jul 24, 2013 10:13 PM

    bpurd says: Jul 24, 2013 3:58 PM

    SF is solid everywhere but reciever. Well Seattle is solid everywhere period. SF great drafting. Please. Last year 1st round pick. Jenkins had one target in which he dropped. I don’t want to here cause they are a deep squad. They had injuries at WR qnd he still couldn’t see the field. Seattle number 1 pick led all rookies in sacks. I could see denver at 1 but not SF. Seattle will when that division. If crabtree was healty I could understand but he is not. Their best wr would be 4th on Seattle depth chart.

    so a guy who had more receptions, yards, and td’s than all of the seahawks players would be 4th on their depth chart? this is why people hate seattle fans.

  94. corvusmaximus says: Jul 24, 2013 10:44 PM

    Sure why not.

    Elite talent on both sides of the ball and no real weaknesses on this team.

    I’ll be sure to watch more NFCW games this year; should be a real slugfest.

    Happy Football to all!

  95. wclark22 says: Jul 24, 2013 11:11 PM

    Reality check: San Francisco has 5 Super Bowls. Seattle has 420 Starbucks. That’s the difference.

  96. lnfinite says: Jul 25, 2013 12:19 AM

    contra74 says: Jul 24, 2013 4:16 PM

    lbpackfan says:
    Jul 24, 2013 3:37 PM
    contra74 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:25 PM

    The 9er’s flat out embarassed and exposed the Packers last year. Looks like the 9er’s have a legit shot at a superbowl this year.

    ————————————————–

    …and Green Bay destroyed the Vikings a week earlier. So apparently Vikes are a LONG ways from being a contender.
    ——-
    And the Vikings beat GB the week before that so that means you are a longer way away…see we can go on playing this game.

    —————————————————

    I was expecting a “we had Joe Webb at QB”
    excuse. Good for you for not playing that card.

    ————————————————-

    Don’t you love it when a simplistic Packer fans fight with a Viking fan on a 49ers thread? 49ers got even better this off season and was only one play away from winning another super bowl last year. As a Viking fan I say call 49ers the favorites and now play the games without any petty drama.

    Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war!

  97. rukkus1 says: Jul 25, 2013 1:32 AM

    The niners are a really good team. Im lookin forward to the 2 games with my hawks this year. Its gonna be playoff atmosphere hardcore ballin goin on.

    The top ten teams could go either way on any given sunday, but what is factually correct about this list is one thing. Theres 2 division rivals in the top 5. What can get more interesting than that?

    Congrats from Seattle on the number 1 ranking guys, get your popcorn ready for week 2!

    Go Hawks

  98. taosravenfan says: Jul 25, 2013 1:36 AM

    Sorry ladies and gents. The Baltimore Ravens are the best team in football until the season commences and then it is a free for all.

    Besides John harbaugh > Jim harbaugh as a head coach and frankly as a person.

    For all you doubters who say we had too much turnover, I would reply that we improved in each position in terms of youth and doped with the MAJOR exception of anquan boldin. And that is a big deal. But the miners lost Crabtree who is much better than Q at this point in his career.

    Were it not for a brownout the moment in that SB was so far in the ravens favor that it was going to be a serious BLOWOUT. just watch the video. Lap had no clue what was going on. And while he has freaky sick skills, he still can’t get past his second read and still waits for an open receiver before he throws the ball. Joe throws the ball as his receiver is making his break much like Peyton Brady and Rodgers. Until lap gets to that point he will not be a complete qb.

    Bottom line

    Ravens owner> sf owner
    Ravens GM > sf GM
    John h > Jim h and therefore
    Ravens >>> sf which btw is why
    THE BALTIMORE RAVENS ARE THE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS

  99. jayhawk777 says: Jul 25, 2013 8:10 AM

    A very good football team but….

    Will a 9er explain who plays PASS defense? Whitner is bad, Culliver is burnt toast, see SB and Carlos Rogers. Father time smacked him and anyone see Reid play pass d @ Lsu? No good. Hello, NFL favors the pass game. Any shut down corners in SF? Nope= trouble.

    Do the 9ers have a #1 WR? No!

    How old is Gore? 30? lol

    A porous secondary, No #1 wr and an aging Rb & this is the #1 rated NFL team? Funny stuff!!

  100. bearsoxass says: Jul 25, 2013 9:26 AM

    Slow down please, it’s gonna be more difficult for Kaepernick this year. He’s young and good but a lot of work to do.

  101. sbchampsagain says: Jul 25, 2013 9:50 AM

    Pre Season Champs! Congrats Niners!

    All they have to do now is perform!

    I do wonder how Kaepernick will do now that people have a scout on him.

    Hmm…

  102. bkostela says: Jul 25, 2013 10:20 AM

    contra74 says: Jul 24, 2013 3:25 PM

    The 9er’s flat out embarassed and exposed the Packers last year. Looks like the 9er’s have a legit shot at a superbowl this year.
    ____________________________

    the giants beat the niners 26-3 and the packers 38-10 last year… and watched the playoffs from their couches. figure that one out.

  103. themackstrong says: Jul 25, 2013 10:56 AM

    No proven WRs outside of Boldin who is turning 33. Lost NT, All Pro S, RJF Cowboy’s backup (Smith is aging) and a leaky secondary that got exposed all late season. They did have a stout defensive line and linebackers make top tier plays. Week 2 they will be without a doubt 0-2. This see if this 49er bandwagon empty’s out like think it will. Kaep is a gifted athlete but he is still basically a one read QB as 2nd year player.

  104. phinswinafceast says: Jul 25, 2013 11:38 AM

    I am predicting a major step back for the 49ers this year. Not that these power rankings are wrong, because its hard to argue against logic, other than they lost their best wr, and I still say they are number 1 going into the season. My reason for the step back is this: Strength of schedule last year was tied for 24th out of 32, only 6 teams had weaker opponents based on 2011 wins/losses, and out of that number, 3 of those 6 teams made the playoffs as well (Houston, Green Bay, New England). This year their strength of schedule is tied for 7th hardest. The good news is that the majority of those better opponents will play at SF stadium, but I think this 7th toughest schedule will have a lot to say about the health/injuries that the 49ers have to endure this season. And with everyone in their division getting stronger and filling holes from last year, I see this team just taking too many beatings before the playoffs to be the same team that got to the Superbowl. Reason #2, they had the best ranking regarding injuries that impacted their win/loss record last year. This year it starts with a bang with Crabtree out for what should be the entire season, and I don’t think any NFL team can be that lucky 2 years in a row, the odds are against them in this regard. So I think injuries pile on throughout the season (as opposed to late in the season), and I think better opponents as well as division rivals deflate them some.
    I still agree with the ranking, I am just going to say it first, this team will be put to the test this year, and I think that will be a lot to overcome especially with a Superbowl loss hangover. Now, can they overcome this adversity, absolutely, especially given their home record is outstanding having only lost 1 game and tied one at home in 2012. So there are reasons to see it either way, I will be the pessimist even though my dolphins have the exact same schedule difficulty this year, and I am hoping they win their division (finally)

  105. jpseahawk says: Jul 25, 2013 12:52 PM

    Big Hawks fan here. I have to admit that the Niners are stacked once again. We may not like your coach but we sure should respect what he has done. The fact is that the Niners have played in a championship game and a Super Bowl in 2 years, with largely the same roster, and that demands respect.

    The Niners have been blessed with avoiding the injury bug in the past, and we all know that a couple of key injuries can take a championship caliber team and reduce it to a mediocre team. We shall see how they deal with the current rash.

    Any Seahawk fan that is not an idiot (ok, I can hear the snide comments already) is very wary of the Niners, but we also remember what happened on our turf in 2012, and we believe we have a legitimate shot. So game on!!!!

  106. cdan374 says: Jul 25, 2013 1:27 PM

    wclark22 says: Jul 24, 2013 11:11 PM

    Reality check: San Francisco has 5 Super Bowls. Seattle has 420 Starbucks. That’s the difference.

    ———–

    Well played sir! Niners will make a run at the SB…

    Gonna be a great season, except for us Cowboys fans…

  107. ccjcsr says: Jul 25, 2013 1:31 PM

    Weak Secondary that will get toasted, they better average 35 a game or else it’s over!

    #waitandsee

  108. mc1439 says: Jul 25, 2013 2:14 PM

    Colin will get injured this year trying to be a hero and the niners will unfortunately miss the playoffs. Don’t be a hero! If this turns out to be true I will be back to remind everyone I told you so!

  109. chawk12thman says: Jul 25, 2013 2:29 PM

    Can’t argue that SF has a strong team and has earned this spot. Looking forward to seeing the Seahawks compete to knock them off the top of the fence………..Energy level for the second week is building, for sure.

    Go Hawks!

  110. sbchampsagain says: Jul 25, 2013 3:46 PM

    Wasn’t the 49er defense supposed to be awesome?
    Where did it go in the playoffs?

  111. bpurd says: Jul 25, 2013 4:53 PM

    @ decon49 I wasn’t talking about Crabtree. He is hurt. I was yalking aboit Boldin.

  112. 8man says: Jul 25, 2013 5:27 PM

    Won’t win their division. And may miss the playoffs.

  113. bizono says: Jul 25, 2013 6:03 PM

    Top to bottom, most talented team in the NFL. Should put it all together this year for another Super Bowl trip, but luck and injuries always play a part.

  114. dukeearl says: Jul 25, 2013 6:49 PM

    I kinda favor the head on comparison…
    Colin was embarrassed by the Seahawks last year.
    Alex Smith at least won the game.

    Anquan Boldin had a great postseason but an average regular season.

    SF is looking to have their tight end play WR, a position he has never played. Normally TEs don’t do well as wide receivers.

    Colin will go into the second week game in Seattle with an oversized ego and get stomped. Seattle extremely tough at home.

    Other than that the 9ers and the hawks will be bouncing back and forth as number 1/ number 2 team.

    Some 9er fan made a comment that RW is the heart of Seattle. I would give that nod to Marshawn Lynch. Face it… any team out there would be improved with Lynch.

    Seattle’s current weak spot is at defensive end.

    Good luck to both teams. It will be a great season.

  115. lagg1 says: Jul 26, 2013 5:19 AM

    The Niners are loaded but in a tough division. The only question marks are injuries. I comes down to the Seahawks and San Fran ro represent the NFC in the SB. I really do not see anyone else. Both teams are physical and will knock the snot out of you. It should be fun!

  116. maddbearfan says: Jul 26, 2013 9:59 AM

    Kaepernick will get stupid on the read option and some linebacker or defensive end will take him out.

  117. Great Caesar's Ghost says: Jul 27, 2013 12:37 AM

    Good team but their free agent signings average 31.5 years. They missed the memo – overpaying for old players is a waste of money.

  118. mwindle1973 says: Jul 27, 2013 12:25 PM

    The injury thing is what would scare me if I were a 49ers fan. There ranking is deserved. But research has shown that injuries happen at about the same rate to all teams over the long term. So if the injury plague skipped past a team for a couple/few seasons then the odds become increasingly more likely that injuries will start mounting up.

  119. deejayehn says: Jul 28, 2013 12:30 AM

    Pre season picks are almost always wrong.

    Pats will clock their 4th ring…

  120. norcalmafia says: Jul 29, 2013 1:06 AM

    Dont worry Seattle fans..Maybe one day people will take your loser city and team seriously..B Bosworth and Matt Hassleback baby…Dynasty!…..hahahaaha..Seattle is so lame

  121. cobaltdriver says: Jul 30, 2013 11:03 PM

    Don’t you love it when a simplistic Packer fans fight with a Viking fan on a 49ers thread? 49ers got even better this off season and was only one play away from winning another super bowl last year. As a Viking fan I say call 49ers the favorites and now play the games without any petty drama.

    Um ..the idiot Contra started it..why the heck a Viking “fan” is posting about the Packers on a 49 blog is beyond all of us..the dumbing down of America continues, just read PFT and look for any mention of the Packers and the idiocracy continues

  122. NFL Betting Canada says: Jul 31, 2013 5:36 PM

    No argument at all. SF, Denver and Seattle will do very well this season. Interested to see if NE and GB can still win lots of games. But changing of the guard in the NFL has taken place.

  123. txnative61 says: Aug 8, 2013 2:30 AM

    Consistency. NFC West extremely talented and well coached, but most of all they need to beat the teams they are supposed to beat. Players body clocks simply do not adjust to early Eastern time starts, making home field critical to their playoff success, 49′ers narrow escape from Atlanta last year notwithstanding. Personally, I think its so noticeable that all western teams playing games in the East should by rule be scheduled in the late time slot.

  124. polapea says: Aug 10, 2013 9:46 AM

    SF is a very good team but I don’t see them as the best team in the league. They don’t have any real vertical threat in the passing game.

  125. haywoodjablowme1 says: Aug 14, 2013 12:44 PM

    Niners won’t make the playoffs, they’ll finish last in the NFC west

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