- KC Joyner, NFL Insider
Last season the San Francisco 49ers very nearly took the tried-and-true formula of a tough defense, powerful rushing attack and highly efficient pass offense all the way to a berth in the Super Bowl.
This year, the 49ers still have those same characteristics and have now augmented them with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose superb dual-threat talents helped vault San Francisco from 26th in offensive yards per game in 2011 to 11th this season.
With that level of improvement, it would seem like San Francisco should be a hands-down favorite to win the NFC Championship Game and have a strong chance at claiming the Lombardi Trophy.
As compelling a case as this seems to be at first glance, the truth of the matter is the 49ers will need a lot of sudden improvement on offense to even make it out of the NFC divisional round, as the game tape and metrics indicate San Francisco has more than enough trouble spots on that side of the ball to preclude a Super Bowl run this year.
At first glance, the San Francisco 49ers look like a strong Super Bowl contender in the NFC, but KC Joyner explains why a few critical offensive shortcomings could end their title hopes.