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Steve Young: The 49ers should fear no one in the NFC

“Who’s gonna bug us in December? I think the point is there’s just not that many that could bug us.”

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The win on Sunday was obviously good for many reasons. The 49ers got over .500, they got another win in the conference, and they’re at the top of the division. According to Steve Young on KNBR, that wasn’t the only good thing the win did, however.

“The 49ers, last week, really put themselves in a spot where - upper echelon in the NFC. Why are we afraid of the Packers? No. We’re not afraid of the Vikings. We’re not afraid of the Giants, Dallas, or Philadelphia, but Philadelphia’s done some work to change perception. So we’re in the mix with all those guys. Seems like we might be leaving everyone behind in the [NFC] West. Did you think that three weeks ago? Four weeks ago? No. Like we’re leaving everybody behind in the West?

Stuff is happening every week. The Carolina week was like, ‘Yeah, we went out there like we’re a really good team and just kind of rolled it up, and that’s how we roll.’ That changes perception around the league and that matters.

I always say on Wednesday when the team gets the playbook and they’re going to start going through installations, everybody kind of knows perceptionally (sic) who you’re playing, and you pay attention. I think that everyone’s gonna say, this week when the Falcons pick up their book today and they say who we’re playing? The 49ers? Boom, top of the NFC. That’s who we’re playing, and that matters. I feel like you’re up a touchdown in warm ups because you’re perceived to be good.”

Injuries have certainly taken a little bit of wind out of those sails, but Steve is right. The rest of the NFC should be afraid of the 49ers, and not the other way around. He elaborated later in the interview.

“So I think about the NFC and I think about, ‘Who can bug us?’ I’m not stupid, I get that there’s going to be battles and everything but emotionally I’m kind of leaving it behind. And so I look down the NFC and it’s like, who else? You see the Packers, you see the Bucs. The Bucs are a really good defense and they’re going to score points. Who else is out there? Is it Philadelphia? Maybe. The Cowboys? I refuse. The Cowboys have underperformed for generations. This is the first time they’ve outperformed my expectations in forever - since Troy Aikman was there. So I’m wary of the Cowboys because I’m not sure where they’re going, but I still have to see Dak come back and do it.

Who is out there? Let’s take a peek. Who’s gonna bug us in December? I think the point is there’s just not that many that could bug us. I don’t want to get cocky about it, but you asked me what the Carolina win did? It made me start to look out in the future and go, ‘Hmm, who could bug us,’ and that’s a fun place to be.”

First of all, you’ve gotta love that Steve Young hasn’t suited up for the team in two decades and still says, “us” when talking about the Niners. Second, the team showed us last year that they’re more than capable of making a late-season run with their 7-2 finish (including 4 wins in their last 5 games). There’s a long way to go before we get to that point, but there’s also nothing wrong with enjoying where we are at the moment, either.

Hear more about this and other stories in today’s 49ers in Five podcast. Our five minute daily update gives you the latest news, best audio clips, and everything else you need to know about the team. Subscribe to the Niners Nation Podcast Network today so you don’t miss an episode!