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Over the weekend remembertheCATCH posted a FanPost asking, "Are the Niners Super Bowl contenders this year?" In the accompanying poll with 119 votes, 43% voted yes, 20% voted no, and 36% voted only if the 49ers get extremely lucky. I bring it up now because there was plenty of discussion as to whether the 49ers are really good enough to win a Super Bowl at this point.
Given all the discussion, I thought now was as good a time as any to put together some power rankings for the NFC. Where exactly do you see the 49ers fitting in the power structure of the conference? Here is one man's opinion. I've posted more detailed thoughts after the jump.
1. New Orleans Saints
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. Green Bay Packers
4. Minnesota Vikings
5. Atlanta Falcons
6. San Francisco 49ers
7. Philadelphia Eagles
8. New York Giants
9. Washington Redskins
10. Seattle Seahawks
11. Chicago Bears
12. Arizona Cardinals
13. Carolina Panthers
14. Detroit Lions
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
16. St. Louis Rams
First off, the Vikings ranking is based on a returning Brett Favre. I think he'll be back so I'll keep the Vikings up near the top. At the same time, I like where the Cowboys and Packers are at this point a little better than the Vikings.
After those top 4, things get a bit more jumbled up. While I think Atlanta is closer to the top 4 than the other teams, I definitely think the rankings of 5 through 12 are incredibly close. You could bump many of those teams, including the 49ers, in a variety of spots throughout that portion.
I'm sure my rankings are considered a bit homer-ish, but given the way the offseason has advanced, I'd like to think the 49ers are better than those teams at this point. I had trouble with several of the teams, and it mostly came down to pairs of them: Giants/Bears, Seahawks/Cardinals, and Eagles/Redskins.
The Giants and the Bears are tough because I honestly don't know what to think of them. They could make the playoffs, or they could end up counting down to the draft, and neither would surprise me.
The Seahawks are a conundrum for me given all their injury issues last year. With Kurt Warner retiring and Matt Leinart taking the charge, combined with some big losses via free agency and trades, the Cardinals could take a bit of a dive this year. They're still talented, so I'm certainly not writing them off, but if the Seahawks can stay healthy, could they end up being the 49ers chief opponent for the division title?
The Redskins and Eagles are a tough one because of the Donovan McNabb deal. Kevin Kolb has shown some skills, but he is the Eagles biggest question mark. On the other hand, the Redskins were fairly abysmal last season, but now they've got Donovan McNabb in town. Is he enough to turn them around? As tough as 5-12 is for me, the homer in me has 7-12 as even more difficult.
So given all that, how would you line up the NFC from top to bottom?
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