Perennial contenders San Francisco 49ers (12-4) watched its division foe Seattle take home the Vince Lombardi trophy last season.
Now Coach Jim Harbaugh is trying to keep his team focused – despite off-field issues involving Colin Kaepernick’s flirtation with the law and Vernon Davis’ potential holdout – for this season with the 49ers facing seven playoff teams, as well a scheduled featuring opponents boasting a .563 winning percentage from last year.
The addition of drafted safety Jimmy Ward, to offset the loss of free agent Donte Whitner, could keep the 49ers defense in the top 10 (7th against the pass, 4th against the rush last season).
Also, adding running back Carlos Hyde through the draft appears to fit into the team’s current offense strategy, which last year ranked 3rd in rushing the ball. The hope this season is that Kaepernick fully blossoms into a passing-first quarterback
As for the 49ers schedule, it includes three different sets of back-to-back road games while at home the team gets used to its new stadium in Santa Clara. For those who believe this is the year for the 49ers, the current win total of 11 UN -135 offers a good payout. Conversely, if you’re not a believer you may be able to find 10.5 OV -120. Whatever the case, the NFC West will once again be the division to watch in the 2014 NFL season.