NFC West Preview: 49ers

There are big things expected this year in San Francisco. If 2006 is any indication, the rebuilding efforts are working and the 49ers are well on their way to regaining some of their past dominance.

San Francisco has plenty of young talent so it’s not surprising that many analysts are picking the 49ers to be the sleeper team of the NFC West.

Quarter Back Alex Smith while still a work in progress improved greatly in 2006 over his rookie campaign. Smith recorded 16 Touchdowns, 16 Interceptions and a Quarter Back Rating of 74.8. Smith’s receiving unit has gotten some upgrades this season with the additions of Darrell Jackson and Ashley Lelie. Big things are also expected from second year Tight End Vernon Davis who missed six games last season due to injuries.

Oddsmakers at Online Sports Book have odds posted on Alex Smith throwing for over 3150 yards this season with Jackson and Davis accounting for over 1600 of those yards between the pair.

If Smith can keep the interceptions down and his targets can stay healthy he definitely has the weapons available to rack up some serious yards in 2007

If the 49ers passing game improves as expected, Running Back Frank Gore will be even more dangerous than he was last year. In 2006 Gore lead the NFC in rushing with 1695 yards while averaging a whopping 5.4 yards per carry.

Bodog oddsmakers have odds listed for Frank Gore to rush for 1580 yards in 2007 which is among the highest of any running back with odds listed.

Despite the offensive arsenal San Francisco is assembling, the key to the 2007 campaign is going to be the 49er defense. 2006 started out with San Fran allowing a dismal 33.6 PPG through the first seven games. Things started to improve in the second half of the season though and the 49ers were able to cut their PPG to 19.7 through the remaining nine games.

The San Fran defense should continue to improve in 2007 with the addition of safety Michael Lewis, linebacker Tully Banta-Cain and first round draft pick Linebacker Patrick Willis. Also joining the 49ers is one of the best corners in the game today, Nate Clemens. Clemens will add a lot of much needed depth to the San Francisco secondary.

With the young talent assembled to go along with plenty of key additions, the 49ers should be able to compete with the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West if they can remain healthy.

As a team, the 49ers are listed at 9/5 odds of winning the NFC West and at 7/1 to win the NFC Conference.

As far as Super Bowl 42 is concerned, the San Francisco 49ers are listed at 16/1 to win Super Bowl XLII on Sunday 02/03/08 in Arizona which would mean a $1600 payout for every $100 bet.

By: Michael Cash - - Email Us

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