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2011 San Francisco 49ers Odds | Preview | Picks

2011 San Francisco 49ers Team Preview | NFL Predictions

The 2010 San Francisco 49ers had a laundry list of expectations and a boatload of pressure they didn’t exactly live up to.

2011 San Francisco 49ers Team Preview/Predictions
2010 Record: 6-10
ATS Record: 6-10

After San Francisco gave Mike Singletary the axe, the dynamic of this team started to change, but one wonders if that momentum will last for the Niners in the year to come.

Fired-up, fill-in coach Jim Tomsula had a lot to do with his team’s late resurgence. With all the pressure off, the San Francisco 49ers decided to just have fun.

The Niners wound up with the kind of performance in their season finale they expected all year. Instead of the playoffs, San Francisco entered an offseason of change and disruption. The franchise hired a new general manager (Trent Baalke), a new head coach (Jim Harbaugh), and then searched for a quarterback.

That last point is the biggest question mark for an organization in search of an identity.

The 49ers have the most talent in a very winnable division and with the addition of their five-year, 25 million-dollar man in Harbaugh, they have all the pieces to make it back to the playoffs… well, almost all. Harbaugh is the brother of Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, and he shouldn’t have too much of a problem adjusting to the NFL.

The key for the Niners lies at quarterback.

In the very well documented career of Alex Smith, the Utah product who earned such lofty status as a draftee has struggled to live up to expectations since being the 49ers’ first round draft pick in 2005.

Although he has played in and started a lot of games over the past six seasons, he has been able to make it through a full season just one time without missing any games due to some kind of injury (or a lack of effectiveness).

Very few teams will be hurt more by a lockout shortened season than the 49ers. The new coaching staff will have even less time to get the team ready to go.

The first-round draft pick from Missouri, Aldon Smith, will be asked to provide consistent pressure on opposing signal callers, while third rounder Chris Culliver from South Carolina will hopefully fill a big hole in the San Francisco secondary.

If Jim Harbaugh can get his system in place, a winning record for the first time since 2002 and an NFC West championship may not be out of the question. By far the 49ers’ greatest strength was their run defense. Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis led a defense that held opposing teams to a mere 96.1 yards per game and ranked second in football, allowing only 3.5 yards per attempt. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

On the other side of the pigskin, running back Frank Gore had his season cut short due to injury.

It’s quite amazing how the 49ers were so good at running and stopping the run, while being so bad at passing and stopping opponents’ air attacks.

Alex Smith had the best passer rating of his career with an 82.1 mark, but that only placed him 21st in the league. Does that not put things into prospective?

Meanwhile, opposing quarterbacks managed an 89.96 QB rating against the Niners, which ranked them 26th in the NFL. San Francisco was terrible on third down. Opposing offenses converted 38.7 percent of the time, while the 49er offense converted 31.9 percent of its own third-down opportunities; both numbers ranked towards the bottom of the National Football League.

2011 49ers Futures

Super Bowl Odds: +5250
Conference Odds: +2550
NFC West Odds: +185
2011-2012 NFL Regular Season Wins: Under 7.5

2011 San Francisco 49ers Predictions:

Place they’ll finish in NFC West: 2nd
Place they’ll finish in NFC Conference: 11th

Over/Under Wins Prediction: Under

With NFL football just a short time away, Cappers Picks Football handicappers have been hard at work putting out the team by team NFL previews for those of us who can’t wait.

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About Dave Golokhov AKA Vegas Dave

Dave Golokhov has written for Playboy.com, BETUS Sportsbook, Sportsfanmagazine.com, FOX, Askmen.com, Sports-central, and the FOXSports.com Funhouse.