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Pretty Much Screwed: The 2013-14 San Francisco 49ers


Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our definitive guide to the upcoming NFL season. This team-by-team preview details why your favorite franchise might have to start looking forward to next year — but highlights at least one reason for you to be hopeful. Today: Rick Chandler tells you why the San Francisco 49ers will suck. Or … will they?

A wise man once said that if you want to hear God laugh, announce your plans to win the Super Bowl. As a 49ers fan, I’ve seen five. So I’m not going to predict that. Instead, I’m going to hover over this team, holding a steak knife, reminding them that one false move could lead to messy complications. I shall be like … like … hmm …

Chucky

Vernon Davis and teammates probably didn’t realize this when they adopted the antagonist of the Child’s Play films as their unofficial mascot this week, but Chucky is an apt metaphor. Take the photo above. Go ahead and relax, Kyle Williams. You have a great team. Probably the NFL’s best defense. Colin Kaepernick is insanely talented and a hard worker. Frank Gore is Frank Gore. But in the NFL there’s always a Chucky behind the dresser, waiting to cause mayhem. He may be in the form of the Seattle Seahawks, or the Rams (whom the 49ers inexplicably couldn’t beat last season), or someone else you wouldn’t expect.

Go ahead, buy him lunch. Won’t matter. You let your guard down for one minute, you get a knife in the ankle.

In today’s NFL, a couple of key injuries can spell doom

Imagine if Kaepernick were to get hurt, and Colt McCoy became your staring quarterback (laugh track). Harbaugh tried to put a good face on it last week when he praised McCoy’s performance against the Vikings. But the fact remains that the 49ers are trying to trade him (in my opinion), and if they don’t they might cut him on Saturday when rosters go to 53 players. Perhaps he and Tim Tebow could start a rock band.

Other than that, it’s Seneca Wallace (65.4 QB rating in 2011) and fourth-round draft pick B.J. Daniels, who wasn’t even that great at South Florida. Serenity now!

On second thought, perhaps Kaepernick’s pet tortoise is a more telling metaphor for the season. Build a giant turtle shell and make him live in it when he’s not playing.

Questions in the secondary

With Chris Culliver out for the season with torn ACL, can Nnamdi Asomugha step in as the fifth defensive back? He didn’t look that great in Philadelphia, quite frankly. Starting safety Eric Reid is a rookie. Carlos Rodgers is great against the run, only average against the pass. And their first opponent is Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers? Hmm.

Questions at receiver

Randy Moss (Fox Sports), Mario Manningham (PUP), Michael Crabtree (PUP), all gone. Anquan Boldin, sure, but who can tell for sure what impact he’ll have? That leaves Kyle Williams, Jonathan Baldwin (from the Chiefs for A.J. Jenkins) Marlon Morris (from the Dolphins) and rookie Quinton Patton. Vernon Davis may play some wideout, it is rumored. Look for him to be routinely quadruple-teamed.

Why they may not be screwed

Everything else. The linebackers. The defensive line. The offensive line. The coaching staff. The fact that Pete Carroll coaches their chief rival. Prediction: Look for the Seahawks to get insanely motivated for their two games with SF, and have a letdown against everyone else. Because that’s the Pete Carroll way.

Actual season prediction: 12-4, first place NFC West, return to Super Bowl. Will they win it? Let’s ask …



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