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Thursday, November 15, 2012
Can the 49ers make the Super Bowl?

By Mike Sando

NFC: Giants | 49ers | Packers | Falcons AFC: Patriots | Broncos | Ravens | Texans

We're singling out one team from each division for Super Bowl consideration with seven weeks remaining in the 2012 regular season.

The San Francisco 49ers have for some time been the only NFC West team worth our consideration on that subject. Recent events suggest the Seattle Seahawks are gaining on them. The 49ers haven't looked quite as good lately, while the Seahawks have, by all appearances, an ascending young quarterback and bright prospects.

I'm expecting both teams to reach the postseason, but the 49ers remain the team to beat in this division. We all saw how close they came to the Super Bowl last season. They might own the best offensive line in the NFL. They've added weapons to address the third-down issues that factored heavily into their troubles against the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game. For stretches, they have played like the best team in the NFL.

We know how good the 49ers can be. I'll be watching to see how they fare in a few areas before anointing them for a championship run:
Those are a few things to consider longer term. We'll also find out what the other NFC West teams have to say about the matter. The 49ers still have divisional road games against Seattle and St. Louis, plus trips to New Orleans and New England.