|Davis thinks the Niners are going to repeat their 2011 success, and then some. (US Presswire)|
In 2011, the 49ers came out of nowhere to win 13 games, cruise to an NFC West title and nearly make a Super Bowl. They won't be surprising anyone in 2012, and external expectations are high for Jim Harbaugh in his second year with San Francisco.
So too are internal expectations apparently -- Vernon Davis told Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury-News that he "strongly" believes the 49ers should be the Super Bowl favorites ... before saying that he couldn't say that.
"I strongly believe we should be the Super Bowl favorites," Davis said. "But I can't talk about it because it's all about work. It starts here at practice. I don't want to talk about it and brag and say this and that, because it's not about that. It's about working first. And in the end, you will see where you'll be."
The Niners were installed at 8:1 to win the Super Bowl over at Sportsbook.com. That makes them one of the top faves to win the Super Bowl, behind only the Packers and the Patriots (and even with the Eagles).
But there's some regression expected for San Francisco -- when I broke down the NFC over/under win totals the Niners were only set at 10 wins for 2012. That's pretty low for a 13-win team that was a couple kick returns from making the Super Bowl and plays in a bad division.
Interestingly, half of the time that the CBSSports.com NFL crew spent down in Fort Lauderdale over the past few days centered around the Niners and whether or not they can win a Super Bowl with Alex Smith under center. (The other half was talking about Tim Tebow, of course.)
And since I actually found the link to Vernon's comments while my colleague Pete Prisco was calmly stating that the Niners had no chance, I figured I'd get his take on Vernon's comments.
"Vernon Davis is out of his mind," Prisco said. "Did he forget who's throwing him the football?"
Now, I disagree with Pete, who thinks the Niners are going to take a serious step back in 2012. They could still certainly fall back if the defense deals with any injuries, the wide receiver additions don't work out, or Smith regresses. Their formula isn't a guarantee for success.
But they're still playing in a weak division and they've got the personnel for the defense to remain dangerous. Counting on them to fall apart is a bit aggressive, but so is pegging them as the Super Bowl favorites.
The reality is the Niners' final record probably lies somewhere in between, with a little regression from 13 wins expected, just like it is with any team that hits that number in a previous year.
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