Going into the 2011 season, most pundits and bookies had forcasted the niners to finish with between 7 and 8 wins. Others even had us going beneath that. The Eagles were projected to go deep into the playoffs and according the the preseason power rankings at ESPN the Rams were gonna take the division or contend with the SeaChickens. With the lack of mini camps and other practices due to the brief lockout in addition to having yet another coach take over the 49ers, this was supposed to be another abysmal year. Even the homers here at Niner nation had us winning at most 10 or 11 games.
After our weak preseason showing, it further convinced the critics that the 49ers were in for another long season with some even calling for Colin Kapernick to come in place of Alex Smith. Plus, with all the changes in personnel we had on the defensive side of the ball, there was to be another rebuilding year. When we came back from 20 down in Philly, it was said to be because the Eagles were too complacent and made too many mistakes. After losing 2 of 3 in late November early December, the odds makers said we were 2 point favorites at home vs the Steelers. We beat them by 17. That time it was because Ben Roethlisberger had a bum knee.
Now we're the 2nd seed in the NFC and we're underdogs at home with the Saints projected to win by 3. 65% of yahoo users project the Saints to win. Ofcourse, these are the same people that would've ridiculed anyone saying the Niners would have a first round bye. Oh and just last week, weren't these the same people that overwhelmingly picked the Steelers to trounce Tebow and the Broncos? But ofcourse if you read anything this week, its all about how unstoppable their offense is and how vulnurable the niners are. Wait, isn't this the same unstoppable offense that lost to the Rams AND Tampa; both teams we beat this season. The Saints were also losing at halftime to the Lions as well. Yet, dont expect anyone to point out the meager 10 points put up by the New Orleans in the first half or any positive attributes the 49ers bring to the game.
As far as "the experts" are concerned, our opponents just happen to have a bad day offensively against us and somehow Alex Smith manages to not blow the game and our running game seems to be some odd happenstance. If by sheer luck the Niners move on the the NFC championship game, it will be because Drew Brees had an off-game and the new narrative will be that defending Super Bowl Champs Green Bay Packers cannot be stopped on any play for any amount of yards and if the 49ers do win at Lambeau Field it'd be because of the officials, or injuries or some other circumstances other than the talent of our team.