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2014 San Francisco 49ers Odds | Season Preview | NFL Predictions

2014 49ers NFL Handicapping

49ers’ Super Bowl Expectations Hinge On Kaepernick’s Development

The San Francisco 49ers have ranked among the best teams in the NFL in each of the past three seasons but haven’t been able to get the job done on the biggest stage.

Entering Year Four under head coach Jim Harbaugh the hope in the Bay area is that this is the team that will finally win it all.

The 49ers will look to extend their streak of three-straight NFC Championship game appearances after reloading in the offseason and while conventional wisdom dictates that reaching a fourth-straight title game will be that much more difficult after past failures, experience and offseason upgrades could be the key.

2014 San Francisco 49ers Team Preview/Predictions

  • 2013 Record: 12-4
  • ATS Record: 10-5-1

2014 49ers Futures

  • Super Bowl Odds: +650
  • Conference Odds: +400
  • NFC West Odds: +130
  • 2014 NFL Regular Season Wins: 10.5 

Harbaugh has done an excellent job developing a run-first offense that takes advantage of its strengths led by running back Frank Gore and a massive offensive line.

Kendall Hunter suffered a torn ACL and will miss the season but Gore is coming off his seventh-straight 1,000-yard rushing season and showed no signs of slowing down with 4.1 yards per carry a year ago.

Amazing depth and a long-term outlook allowed San Francisco to draft Marcus Lattimore in the fourth round of the 2012 draft and he is finally ready to contribute after rehabbing a major knee injury.

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Lattimore might be the No. 3 back on the depth chart as rookie second-round pick Carlos Hyde has looked dominant at times in camp and is the favorite to ultimately take over as the No. 1 ahead of Gore.

Daniel Kilgore is expected to beat out rookie third-round pick Marcus Martin to start at center as an upgrade for the departed Jonathan Goodwin and the other four starters all return including left tackle Joe Staley and left guard Joe Iupati.

The offense could take a major step forward in 2014 if fourth-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to develop. Kaepernick can make electric plays with his legs and if he can make enough progress with his arm he could be the difference in a Super Bowl run.

The 49ers added veteran Stevie Johnson and rookie fourth-round pick Bruce Ellington to solidify the receiving core behind Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree.

Tight end Vernon Davis posted 13 touchdown catches in 2013 – second most in the NFL at the position.
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The San Francisco defense ranked in the top-seven against both the run and the pass a year ago and upgraded the secondary in the offseason with the additions of free agents safety Antoine Bethea and cornerback Chris Cook as well as rookie first-round pick safety Jimmie Ward.

Bethea will be the big hitter on the back end that the 49ers lacked a year ago while strong safety Eric Reid is back following a Pro Bowl rookie season. Bethea and Reid will immediately rank among the best safety tandems in the NFL.

Ward will slide in to the nickel role at cornerback while Cook challenges Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, and Eric Wright for the chance to contribute. It’s unclear what inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman will bring to the table after a gruesome knee injury ended his 2013 season so rookie third-round pick Chris Borland could end up seeing significant action lined up next to Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis.

Outside linebacker Aldon Smith could miss time due to suspension but he should eventually make his way on to the field and expectations are high after he has dominated in camp.

Ahmad Brooks is coming off his first Pro Bowl season and will start at the other outside linebacker spot with Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier in the mix to start in place of Smith.

Standout defensive end Justin Smith anchors a dominant 3-4 defensive line opposite Ray McDonald with Glenn Dorsey back at nose tackle for what should once again be one of the NFL’s best defenses.

The 49ers have won 11 or more games and reached the NFC Championship game in all three seasons under Harbaugh and there is every reason to think this could be his best team yet.

San Francisco has to overcome a tough division that features the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, and Arizona Cardinals but they have the potential to be better on both sides of the ball if healthy so getting back to 11 wins is a very realistic possibility.

Ultimately, this 49ers’ team will go as far as Kaepernick will take them and the mentality heading in to 2014 is Super Bowl or bust.

2014 49ers Predictions

  • Place they’ll finish in NFC West: 1st
  • Place they’ll finish in NFC Conference: 1st 
  • Over/Under Wins Prediction: OVER

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