Sports Illustrated Predictions: 49ers At 11-5, Losing To Saints

The folks at Sports Illustrated have released their annual NFL preview edition and they sent along some bits and pieces of it for me to share with you. The magazine include Peter King's predictions, as well as team analysis by Jim Trotter. We can take King's predictions with a bit of a grain of salt, but they're still interesting to consider. He predicts the 49ers finish 11-5, earn a first round bye, and then lose to the Saints in a Divisional round rematch.

Jim Trotter's analysis focuses almost entirely on the passing game, which makes sense. He had a quotation from Alex Smith to describe the changes to the passing game this year:

Now we have guys with a lot of different strengths. Randy can run and has great ball skills when the ball is in the air. Mario has great quickness. And Crab can do everything-a physical catcher with a huge wingspan. He makes really tough catches look ordinary.

Most offseason discussions on a national level, and even in here, have been about the importance of the offense developing. The defense will be a strength again, but adding in quality offense would take this team to a whole new level.

If you get a chance to pick up the SI preview magazine, they also have a Justin Smith feature on page 48 titled, "American Badass", based on Aldon Smith referring to him as the last true American badass. They use this great picture for the article. It's fitting.

After the jump I've posted Peter King's predictions. We'll be back with a game thread at 4:00 p.m. PT.

REGULAR SEASON

AFC EAST

AFC NORTH

AFC SOUTH

AFC WEST

1. Patriots (12-4)

1. Ravens (10-6)

1. Texans (12-4)

1. Chiefs (10-6)

2. Bills (9-7)*

2. Bengals (9-7)

2. Titans (7-9)

2. Broncos (10-6)*

3. Jets (7-9)

3. Steelers (8-8)

3. Colts (5-11)

3. Chargers (8-8)

4. Dolphins (4-12)

4. Browns (5-11)

4. Jaguars (4-12)

4. Raiders (6-10)

NFC EAST

NFC NORTH

NFC SOUTH

NFC WEST

1. Cowboys (10-6)

1. Bears (11-5)

1. Falcons (11-5)

1. 49ers (11-5)

2. Giants (9-7)

2. Packers (11-5)*

2. Saints (10-6)*

2. Seahawks (9-7)

3. Eagles (9-7)

3. Lions (9-7)

3. Panthers (8-8)

3. Cardinals (5-11)

4. Redskins (6-10)

4. Vikings (4-12)

4. Buccaneers (6-10)

4. Rams (3-13)

*Wild-card team

PLAYOFFS

AFC WILD-CARD ROUND

NFC WILD-CARD ROUND

(3) Chiefs 20, (6) Bills 20

(6) Saints 29, (3) Falcons 24

(5) Broncos 30, (4) Ravens 25

(5) Packers 34, (4) Cowboys 27

AFC DIVISIONAL ROUND

NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND

(2) Patriots 30, Chiefs 17

Saints 30, (1) 49ers 20

Broncos 23, (1) Texans 20

Packers 20, (2) Bears 16

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Broncos 19, Patriots 17

Packers 27, Saints 25

SUPER BOWL XLVII

Packers 33, Broncos 30


2012 AWARDS

Most Valuable Player: Peyton Manning, QB Broncos

Offensive Player of the Year: Aaron Rodgers, QB Packers

Defensive Player of the Year: Brooks Reed, LB Texans

Coach of the Year: Romeo Crennel, Chiefs

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Andrew Luck, QB Colts

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Bruce Irvin, DE Seahawks

Comeback Player of the Year: Peyton Manning, QB Broncos

Executive of the Year: Rick Smith, G.M. Texans

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