Last Friday, I got dinged for ranking the Baltimore Ravens fourth on my list and then saying I don't really believe they are that good. To elaborate a little, they won the Super Bowl. No meaningful games have been played since, so it doesn't really matter that I don't think they are any good. They are the defending champions and fourth is about as low as I was willing to dump them - at least until they get destroyed by the Denver Broncos on opening day!
Now for this next ranking, I feel dirty. I feel wrong. This 49ers team is scary good and could end up going all the way, but there is one team in the NFC that may just be good enough to come out on top this season. And for that reason and that reason alone, I bumped them to third best in the NFL. Not a huge slight I know, but I still feel dirty for it.
3. San Francisco 49ers (2012 Record: 11-4-1)
The 49ers front office are draft ninja's apparently and who can argue with that sentiment? They absolutely slayed it all three days of the draft, getting value and talent everywhere. Their stacked roster is even scarier than it was when they were minutes away from stealing the Super Bowl title away from the Ravens a few months ago.
The league's number 2 defense looks poised to become the league's premier defense in 2013, having added talent at both safety in Eric Reid, then defensive end Tank Carradine who was wholly beloved by many MHR readers. Then they go on to add Marcus Lattimore who, if not for multiple knee injuries, would have been considered the best running back in this draft class.
Overall, this team is frighteningly talented, but any team with a young quarterback can be rattled at just the wrong time, so a championship is definitely not guaranteed for this team. It's all about containing Kaepernick and forcing him into making bad decisions.