San Francisco is a team that will be playing with a chip on its shoulder next season, with a mission of winning the Super Bowl. Anything less will be considered a disappointment for the 49ers, a team that almost pulled off an improbable come back, but ultimately fell short.
Be sure to read our NFL Picks: 2013-2014 Super Bowl Odds to find out where we believe the best value lies.
The 49ers must spend an entire offseason swallowing a defeat that makes it all the more difficult for them to handle, because they believe they were the better team. But, as we know, in sports, the best team doesn’t always win.
San Francisco will return a solid group up players to compete at the highest level next season, but they must look at ways to improve their team as well.
One way to do this is with their special teams unit. The 49ers gave up a lot of big yards on their punt and kickoff returns all year long, but none bigger than Jacoby Jones’ 108- yard kickoff return for a TD in the Super Bowl.
Needless to say, special teams can make or break you on any given Sunday, and if the 49ers don’t improve their return coverage, it will come back to haunt them once again next season.
Another black hole for the 49ers is at the place kicker position. Yes, they have David Akers, but the once reliable pro-bowl kicker is now 38 years old and suffered the worst season of his stellar career, missing 13 of 42 field goal attempts.
Outside of Michael Crabtree, who notched 85 catches for 1,105 yards, with 9 touchdowns, the 49ers are weakest at the wide receiver position.
Randy Moss proved to be a major disappointment for the 49ers this season. The plan was to utilize Moss as a deep threat, but it never worked out, as he was unable to separate himself from the defensive backs. More than likely, Moss will not be back in a 49ers uniform and will be forced to explore free agency.
Other options include Mario Manningham, who is expected to return from knee injury and Kyle Williams, who has his own health problems to contend with moving forward. Relying on either Manningham or Williams can be a huge risk for San Francisco next year.
Exploring free agency for an established receiver might prove to be a smart move for San Francisco next year and beyond.
All an all, the 49ers will be a solid team once again next season, but it will be important for them to address their weaknesses. If they don’t fill in the gaps they might be in trouble and even if they do, I doubt they will be as serious of a threat as they were this season. When it comes to placing your NFL picks for next season's futures, I don’t see the value at 7/1 odds for the 49ers to win the Super Bowl.
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