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NFC West: More or Less

June 20, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: The 49ers return just about all the key players from a squad that went 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship Game last season. They appear stronger on paper after adding to their offensive weaponry through the draft and free agency. Having a full offseason should let the 49ers more fully implement and grasp schemes that were new to the team when the lockout ended a year ago.

While all signs point to another strong season for the 49ers, it's tough to win 13 games once, let alone again. Sixty-one teams went 13-3 or better from 1978 through 2010. Five won as many games the next season. Zero won more games.

San Francisco was unusually healthy on defense last season. Quarterback Alex Smith started every game despite taking 44 sacks in the regular season and seven more in the playoffs. A plus-28 turnover differential will be difficult to duplicate. And the NFC West appears to be getting more competitive.

READ MORE: http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/67823/nfc-west-more-or-less


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