Chat wrap: 49ers prediction to come

January, 19, 2012
1/19/12
10:14
PM ET
Six of eight humans predicting NFL outcomes for ESPN cast their votes for the New York Giants over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game.

They were split on the 49ers and New Orleans Saints last week. I'll post my prediction Friday, along with the "You called it" item that usually runs on Thursdays (moved back this week after a power outage threw off my usual routine). In the meantime, here's a link to the most recent NFC West chat, followed by a few highlights:
Thomas from Spokane, Wash., thinks the San Francisco 49ers might need a breakout game from Michael Crabtree or Kyle Williams to beat the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game.

Mike Sando: Crabtree is someone I initially thought needed to step up in this next game. We might also recall Kendall Hunter breaking a touchdown run against the Giants last time. He is someone to watch. Someone on ESPN or NFL Network was recently illustrating how the Giants used three safeties to help defend Vernon Davis in the last game. Alex Smith still completed 9 of 11 passes to tight ends in that game. Delanie Walker caught six passes for 69 yards. Davis had a 31-yard touchdown reception in that game. The fact that the Giants will try to take away Davis does not guarantee they will succeed. One question, though, is whether the 49ers need Davis to stick around in protection a little more. The 49ers need to keep Justin Tuck and those pass-rushers off Alex Smith.

D from Phoenix thinks the Arizona Cardinals will keep their top two quarterbacks, bring back Levi Brown, draft a right tackle, draft a guard, sign a linebacker, sign a receiver and select the best player available (with less regard for position) at No. 13 overall.

Mike Sando: Your thinking makes sense whether or not they bring back Levi Brown. They need a tackle. I would also endorse adding pass-rush help. A team can never have too much in that area. Look how much better the 49ers are after adding Aldon Smith.

Roland from Winnipeg wonders to what degree personnel (more than coaching) explains some of the struggles potential St. Louis Rams coordinators Brian Schottenheimer and Gregg Williams experienced recently.

Mike Sando: The fits would be good from a philosophical standpoint. Williams obviously knows defense. He's been hired as a head coach. I question whether blitzing so much is the way to go over time, but when you have Drew Brees as your quarterback and a 7,000-yard offense, you can take some chances. I've been a bit skeptical on Mark Sanchez for a while, so I might be more inclined to cut Schottenheimer some slack there. These would appear to be solid hires, not spectacular ones. Then again, Josh McDaniels was more of a spectacular one, and that didn't work out. Personnel matters most.

Matt from Green Bay posed as Packers backup Matt Flynn in asking what type of contract the Seattle Seahawks might offer him in free agency, and whether they would give him a fair shot at the starting job.

Mike Sando: The Seahawks believe in competition, but do they believe in Matt Flynn? If they did, would they have at least tried to acquire him a couple years ago, when they went after Charlie Whitehurst instead? They would have had the inside info on Flynn because their general manager was with the Packers when Green Bay drafted Flynn. I'm not convinced the Seahawks are itching to give Flynn a big contract. I do think Seattle would consider adding another prospect in the $4-5 million per year range, unless there's a college prospect the team intends to draft.

I didn't realize til after the chat that the Flynn question was basically the only Seahawks-related one I fielded. Sorry about that. We've covered Flynn's situation previously.

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