The San Francisco 49ers are less than a week away from their third playoff game under Jim Harbaugh in two years. Saturday’s divisional round against the Packers will bring about a 2012 rematch between two NFC juggernauts. After these teams faced off, it became easy to fathom their paths crossing again in the postseason.
And while the Packers are intimidating, they are only two years removed from a Super Bowl, and might not be as hungry as the 49ers. San Francisco believes they should have been champs a year ago, so with that being the case, they should be ready to seize the moment this time around.
The Niners have a lot of players that need this to be the year.
Though San Francisco is known as a young team, they have a number of key veterans that are running low on time. The truth is, age catches up with all of us, and given their position and wear-and-tear, the 49ers have a bunch of guys whose careers are winding down.
So, between the vets and the players expected to leave in the offseason, there are certain Niners players feeling the pressure to win this year.
Of the contributors – Justin Smith, 33, Isaac Sopoaga, 31, Delanie Walker, 28, Ted Ginn Jr., 27, Randy Moss, 35, Frank Gore, 29, Jonathan Goodwin, 34, Carlos Rogers, 31, and David Akers, 38 – should all be feeling the urgency this year.
Justin Smith, DL: The team’s mammoth defender is on the wrong side of 30 and may only have two good seasons left in him. Smith is at the top of his game right now, but is still a 12-year vet that will require tricep surgery in the offseason. The 49ers need to face it: they won't have Smith forever.
Frank Gore, RB: It’s been a tremendous ride for Gore in San Francisco, becoming one of the franchise’s all-time greats. But he will be 30-years-old in 2013, and he knows he’s got competition behind him. Drafted alongside Alex Smith in 2005, Gore has watched this team evolve around him since Harbaugh’s arrival.
Randy Moss, WR: One of the greatest receivers in league history is coming close to the end of his career. Moss has already retired once before, so it is something that can come up again soon. As one of the more decorated pros to ever suit up, the one thing Moss still does not have is a title.
In fact, beside Jonathan Goodwin, all the aforementioned players have yet to claim a Super Bowl victory. Moss has appeared in one, but only Goodwin has a ring – one that he got when he was snapping the ball to Drew Brees on the New Orleans Saints.
More than the others, it would be particularly special to see Smith, Gore and Moss win Super Bowls. Hopefully this leads to big-time efforts by them in the postseason.