Although the 49ers defense gets much of the publicity around the nation, we all know how important the special teams units are to the team's success. The list is long and glorious when it comes to key special teamers. Whether we're talking about David Akers, Andy Lee, Ted Ginn, Blake Costanzo, Anthony Dixon, CJ Spillman, Tavares Gooden or any one of a number of special teamers, these units have been downright dominant in 2011-2012.
The 49ers will potentially be missing Ginn on returns, but otherwise, the unit remains intact. Although the team would miss an absent Ginn, they still hold a sizable advantage over the Giants in special teams. The Giants were fairly solid in punt and kick coverage, but they struggled in punt and kick returns. They also were not particularly spectacular in their field goal unit, sitting in the bottom third of the league.
The weather tomorrow could make the special teams units all the more critical. You could make arguments for a variety of impacts in the nasty weather. The direction of the winds will be particularly intriguing for the punters and the kickers. In Las Vegas, they have a random prop parlay card where I can bet on over/under for number of made field goals. The number is three. While I was tempted to take the over, this weather scenario has me wondering how the kickers will handle this.
On the punting side, I had a couple thoughts. On the one hand, maybe we see return men dropping some slick footballs or they are slipping and falling while trying to make their moves. On the other hand, maybe a guy in a coverage unit slips and falls, opening up a lane for a returner. Or does it all just break even in the end?