The 49ers head into their Week 6 contest with the New York Giants sitting at 4-1 and in a tie for first place in the NFC West. The 49ers entered the season as one of the favorites to do some damage in January, and the situation remains the same thus far. The 49ers entered the season around 10/1 or 12/1 to win the Super Bowl. After last week's win over the Bills, the 49ers now sit as 5/1, just behind the 4/1 Texans and ahead of the 11/2 Patriots.
The odds change as the season wears along with wins and losses, but I have to think the odds can be adjusted based on how previous wins and losses develop. For example, the 49ers only loss thus far came to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings entered the season at 150/1 to win the Super Bowl. After a surprising 4-1 start, the Vikings are now sitting at 40/1 odds.
As this past offseason rolled along, we spent a lot of time discussing the 49ers 2012 schedule. We discussed the details of each team on the schedule, and made plenty of predictions over the course of the offseason. Now that football is running its course, we can make plenty of adjustments to those predictions. If you are interested, check out some spring and summer predictions and discussions about the current schedule:
A lot of preseason schedule discussion around the mainstream media will focus in on preseason "strength of schedule." Unfortunately that is usually based on 2011 win/loss records. As the Vikings, Saints and others are showing us, 2011 record can mean squat for a lot of teams.
In looking over the first five games of the 49ers 2012 schedule, we have a mix of surprise teams and god-awful teams. The Vikings are a surprise at 4-1 and will look to continue showing they are for real. They are in an NFC North division that is really difficult to figure out right now. The Bears are also 4-1, while the Packers sit at 2-3 and the Lions sit at 1-3. The standings are actually the exact reverse of last year.
What do you make of the Lions and Packers thus far? Neither has done much of anything to impress. How does this impact your view of the 49ers wins over both teams?
On the other hand, the 49ers upcoming NFC West matchups will provide some kind of challenge. Even though I do think the 49ers are clearly the best team in the division, last year's loss in Arizona proves divisional road games can be tough. The NFC West has shown marked improvement this year. The home games could prove somewhat difficult, but the road games should really provide a test.
None of this should be all that surprising given how the NFL has seen good teams pop up and disappear overnight. Nonetheless, it always makes the discussion of the quality of a team change as the season wears on. Heading into the season, wins over Green Bay and Detroit were viewed as very strong wins. Now, I still think they are solid, but how solid remains to be seen.