NFL Power Rankings: 49ers Aim For Redemption

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Aug 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco 49er head coach Jim Harbaugh with quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7)before a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

16. St. Louis Rams

2012 Record: 7-8-1

Upgrades on the offensive line, tight end, and wide receiver. No more excuses for Sam Bradford.

15. Chicago Bears

2012 Record: 10-6

A new head coach won’t solve the problem that is Jay Cutler, but the defense and special teams could be enough to pull them through.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

2012 Record: 8-8

Pittsburgh still doesn’t have an offensive line. And now they are down Mike Wallace. At the same time they are a very well coached team and have multi-Super Bowl winning quarterback. Their a hard team to peg down.

Aug 18, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) drops back to pass against the New York Giants during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

13. Indianapolis Colts

2012 Record: 11-5

Indy is due for a step back after a leap forward last season. But with Luck at quarterback and a familiar face at offensive coordinator, the step back should be too far back.

12. Washington Redskins

2012 Record: 10-6

We are about to find out much Robert Griffin III is like Superman. He should have some help extra help in the backfield with him after the return of Roy Helu.

11. Baltimore Ravens

2012 Record: 10-6

It isn’t the losses on the defense that are the biggest concern for the Ravens. In fact, you could argue they are a better unit now than when they won the Super Bowl. No, it is the losses  and injuries on offense that will prevent the Ravens from repeating a Super Bowl champions.

10. New Orleans Saints

2012 Record: 7-9

Sean Payton is back, which should be enough to get the Saints back to the playoffs on it’s own. Throw in a revamped defensive scheme led by Rob Ryan and less organizational craziness from “Bounty-gate,” and New Orleans could give Atlanta a solid run for the NFC South.

9. New York Giants

2012 Record: 9-7

Injuries are already mounting for the Giants. Do they have enough depth to survive in the NFC East?

8. Cincinnati Bengals

2012 Record: 10-6

Hard Knocks tells me the Bengals should be a very good, very deep team this season. A revamped rushing offense should make them more effective in the playoffs.

7. Houston Texans

2012 Record: 12-4

The passing offense is going to have to improve if the Texans are going to progress from last season’s 12-4 season with an early playoff exit. Arian Foster has seen his yards per carry drop every season since 2010. An improved and efficient passing game will go a long way towards protecting Foster.

Aug 29, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) on the sidelines during first quarter of the preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

6. Denver Broncos

2012 Record: 13-3

Denver has either 13-3 or 9-7 written all over them. Injuries on the offensive line are mounting up, Von Miller will miss six weeks to suspension, and then there is the fax machine fiasco.

And Peyton Manning’s health will always be in the back of people’s minds.

Still, this is at least the second best team in the AFC.

5. New England Patriots

2012 Record: 12-4

Tom Brady’s arsenal of weapons has been decimated, but that didn’t seem to be a problem watching the Patriots offense during the preseason. New England should be the front-runner for the AFC’s slot in the Super Bowl.

4. Atlanta Falcons

2012 Record: 13-3

Can Steven Jackson hold up for another season (or two)?  If he’s good to go then the Falcons should be back on top of the NFC South again.

3. Seattle Seahawks

2012 Record: 11-5 (But really 10-6 because of the replacement refs.)

Advanced statistics love the Seahawks. And when you have a quarterback like Russell Wilson and a defense like Seattle’s, it is easy to understand why. If Percy Harvin can come back quickly and stay healthy, they will be incredibly hard to beat.

2. Green Bay Packers

2012 Record: 11-5 (But really 12-4 because of the replacement refs.)

Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin were drafted to help fix Green Bay’s running game that hasn’t seen a 100-yard rusher in a regular season game in 43 games. Yeesh. With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, Lacy and Franklin should be enough.

1. San Francisco 49ers

2012 Record: 11-4-1

The only question on this team is whether or not their enough playmakers at wide receivers after the injury to Michael Crabtree. But everything else is in place. And with a full season of Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers should be a to get back to the Super Bowl.

And win it.