The Final Eight

The Ravens’ uniforms are really butt ugly. And Ray Lewis’s absurd pregame preening ritual should never have been televised once, let alone ten thousand times over twelve years. Take some dance lessons, Ray. An acting coach wouldn’t hurt either. Better yet, lose next weekend and get off the stage.

The Seahawks have closed the season strong, but they’ve had some good fortune, too. They got to face the 49ers with Justin Smith in street clothes and Sunday, after falling behind 14-0, they got to play the rest of the game against a one-legged QB.

The AFC has the same four teams in the Divisional Round as last year. It won’t have the same two teams in the Title game, though, unless Peyton Manning channels his old playoff self and honks the first game. Denver already blew away the Ravens in the regular season, just as the Patriots already blew away the Texans. Can we expect any different results now? At least the remaining four teams all won their divisions, meaning no wildcard team will advance in the AFC. The only wildcard team left in the NFC is Seattle.

If history intends to fondle itself, the 49ers will beat Green Bay next Saturday, travel to Atlanta, see Frank Gore break his ankle in the first quarter, then dismally watch the Falcons trot off to the Super Bowl and get squashed by an aging Denver QB.

This scenario is much less attractive than that of the aptly nicknamed Ron “Jaws” Jaworski, who thinks the 49ers have kept the real Colin Kaepernick under wraps like a state secret and are ready to unveil his mighty powers now that the playoffs are here. 49er fans would devoutly wish this were so, but are no doubt skeptical — not of Kaeperick’s skills, but of the coaches’ willingness to get wiggy.

And for this game, wiggy might not be a good idea anyway. A better running game than the team has been showing lately would be quite helpful. A shootout with Aaron Rodgers would not be the wisest decision.

Saturday’s game is probably the most important game of the Jim Harbaugh era — so far. Last year’s success was received almost gratefully by the long suffering 49er fan base. Except for the lunatic fringe that sent death threats to Kyle Williams, last year’s loss to the Giants was more disheartening than catastrophic.

But this year, fans expected more and Harbaugh personally inserted himself into the winning equation with his controversial midseason QB switch. A loss to Green Bay would open Harbaugh up for some serious second guessing, and the most unflattering scrutiny of his young NFL career. A win would put the team in the same spot as last year’s team achieved — the NFC Title Game. Getting further than that is close to a necessity.

On the brighter side, we’re two wins away from “Pope Harbaugh goes to New Orleans!”

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82 comments on “The Final Eight
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    I hope the pseudonymous “Jaws” is correct this time.

  2. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    IMO, the key to winning this week is getting pressure on Rodgers and winning the TOP battle in a large fashion. Don’t be afraid to run Kaep, if he gets hurt we do have a capable back up QB.

  3. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Best 2013 draft position we can get is 26th. But that can happen only if the SB is Ravens vs either Seahawks or Packers. Most likely spot is 28 or 31 or 32!

  4. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Da Bears seem to have a problem in deciding on a coach
    “G.M. Phil Emery continues to pursue a wide variety of candidates, most of which have offensive backgrounds. They include Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Falcons special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Cowboys special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements, and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.”

    That’s half of the NFL. Too many choices will lead to the wrong choice.

  5. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    When it comes to the Bears, there is no right choice. Not as long as Cutler is their QB.

  6. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Trest(he’s gone!)man?!? Seriously?

  7. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    The Niners have 14 picks in the 2013 draft. Possibly more if they can work a deal with Young Sir Alex.
    .
    They can certainly trade up should they really like someone.

  8. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    In the sick humor department, I stole this off a Del Mar retweet:
     
    https://twitter.com/andrewssports/status/288406130303070208/photo/1

  9. NoFear49erNo Gravatar says:

    It seems the media never tires of the phony glorification of Ray Lewis. It’s been his good fortune (in their eyes) to victimize people and not dogs.
     
    I have to laugh a little about the idea that RG3 jumped out 14-0 and then RG3’s injury allowed SEA to answer with the next 24. That’s got to be the best one man team ever seen.
     
    I think Phil Knight is breaking ground on Chip’s new Nike mansion this week.

  10. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Well, having a QB that can’t plant his throwing leg, or run the read option as he did all year certainly hurts the Wash offense, eh? Shanny should have pulled him after he obviously hurt his leg more than it already was. Somewhere near halftime, i guess.
    .
    Shanahan’s an idiot. F*** him. He’s as stupid and arrogant as they get. Jim Harbaugh included.
    .
    But, on the Ray Lewis front, sure. Easy to buy your way out of jail if you spread enough scratch around.

  11. robNo Gravatar says:

    OOOHHHH

    the 9ers play at tampa bay next year !

    I’LL be there !!!

  12. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Watch DT Luis Nix of Notre Dame. He’s a beast and the defense plays off of him. Teo gets the pub but Nix is the main reason why. If Nix gets handled then Teo doesn’t do so well and Alabama wins. I watched Alabama neutralize I few highly rated D-line prospects this year. Something tells me they’ll have problems with Nix.

  13. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    ND has George Atkinson III as their return man. What’s the deal with all these “The Thirds?” I’m getting sick of it. Unless your name is Thurston Howell, come up with a new name.

  14. Berger IIINo Gravatar says:

    Del- How about that!

  15. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    ‘Bama has an excellent OLine.
    Wouldn’t mind having Barrett Jones playing C in SF for years to come.
    OG Warmack could be a Top 15 pick as well.
     
    All that matters at this point is beating GB.
    Can we give Justin another week of rest possibly?

  16. robNo Gravatar says:

    i GUARANTEE you the FLORIDA GATORS would have given alabama a better game !

  17. robNo Gravatar says:

    OMG !

    NOTRE DAME COACH comes out and they ask him the usual
    ” what has to happen in the second half ” question … and he says …


    um i dunno maybe alabama doesn’t come back in the 2nd half ”

    OMG

  18. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Manti T’eo’s draft stock tonight has fallen more than MC Hammer’s career.

  19. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Apropos of nothing. Did you hear the one about the 3 quarterbacks?
    .
    Tony Romo, Eli Manning, and Drew Brees walk into a bar . . . to watch the playoffs on TV.

  20. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Nix for the most part looks fat, slow, gassed, and fat. Did he gain 60 for the game tonight?
    .
    Granted I haven’t seen much of him, but he ain’t doing shit tonight.

  21. Del Mar DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Berger III just made my night with his name.

  22. Berger IIINo Gravatar says:

    Nix is the only player on D having a good game. And that is while being carted off the field with a bum knee. And of course he is big fat and slow, he a 344lb NT. But he is chasing every sweep 20 yds down field. This kid is awesome.

  23. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Nix takes on the double and holds it up and no LB is in sight to fill. Teo’s stock is taking a hit tonight.

  24. robNo Gravatar says:

    jesse williams from alabama is an interesting name tonight imho

  25. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Jesse Williams looks really good. I’m trying to figure out who #62 is. Every time I tune in an Alabama game this year to watch Williams this #62 keeps showing up big.

  26. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Brandon Ivory is #62. He is a red shirt sophomore. I wouldn’t mind seeing him on our roster.

  27. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Jesse Williams is a keeper for my List Berger.
    This game is a joke.
    ND is overrated.

  28. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    So is DE Corey Lemonier from Auburn.

  29. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    The DT from LSU, Bennie Logan is an interesting option too Berger.
    He’s a little light however.

  30. robNo Gravatar says:

    HMMMM

    should we/could we trade up for hankins i wonder ?

  31. robNo Gravatar says:

    CHOICES CHOICES !!!

  32. robNo Gravatar says:

    BERGER

    good call ! for someone on an overmatched notre dame team in the midst of getting blown out , nix sure is holding up his end ! he’s knifing thru there pretty good imo ! he’ll be worth watching very closely this offseason !

  33. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Would love to have Hankins Rob.
    He’s gonna go very high though.
    Not sure we’d spend that much to get him.
    There are quite a few options that will be around in the Mid Rounds.
     
    I’m almost ready to put a DE and DB higher on the wish list right now.
    Depends whether we can get a shot at Jesse Williams without moving up.
     
    TE Ertz from Stanford could land in our lap as well.
    Like his size and pass catching skills.
    He could be a very interesting option if Delanie moves on.

  34. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t believe Nix is Draft eligible.
    Jesse will be an option.

  35. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    I’m also going to put CB David Amerson from NC State ahead of Xavier Rhodes on the Wish List.
    He’s a bigger guy that could likely play FS for us.

  36. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Nix is draft eligible but he has said he is returning to school. He’s at least a mid 1st rounder, maybe higher. Let’s see if he stays. I’d say he is the #1 pure NT prospect if he comes out. There are others that are more dynamic but the two NTs that can hold the point, that I watched this year, are Jesse Williams and Luis Nix. Hankins is probably a DE in a 3-4 system. I would love to have him too.

  37. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Thought I’d read that Nix was a RS Sophomore Berger?
    I’ll keep an eye open for his status as we go.
     
    I spend hours reading about the prospects anyway.
    Looking forward to the Senior Bowl week as well.
    The DT from MO Southern, Brandon Williams is going to participate.
    Curious to see him against the bigger school OLmen.

  38. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    A red shirt sophomore is elegible for the draft. A true sophomore would not be eligible.

  39. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    The deadline for the Underclassmen to Declare is the 15th.
    Quite a few good players have been streaming into the mix the past week.

  40. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    I’m seeing info that Nix will return to school Berger.
    SS Matt Elam from UF is coming out.
    He’s certainly a guy worth considering.

  41. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Harbaugh didn’t give out all the details about the kicking competition at the Stick.
    He said there was a leader in the clubhouse and that’s not hard to guess when there’s only one guy competing. Tours at the Stick will be cancelled and extra security will be on hand if they go back there.
    http://blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers/2013/01/07/lone-kicker-spotted-at-candlestick-per-facebook-page/

  42. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Harbaugh does not actually lie to the media, he is just using pseudology.

  43. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    As per CSNBA, add Mike Singletary as a head coach candidate to be interviewed by the Bears.

  44. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Looks like a Rooney Rule trot through.

  45. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Why does the field at the Stick look like crap?
    Did they have a monster truck rally there last weekend?
    One game played there
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/01/08/candlestick-park-looks-a-lot-like-fedex-field/
    Cutting back on the gardening?

  46. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    RG3 now has a possible tear of his LCL as well as his ACL.
    I had not realized that he had knee surgery when he was at Baylor and they put 2 screws and a rubber band in that knee.
    Ultra talented player but his style of game is not sustainable in the NFL.
    He’s listed at 6-2 215 lbs which would be the exact dims of Steve Young. Looking at RG3 he looks more physically like Joe Montana
    than Steve Young.
    One needs to ask Michael Vick how successful he’s been running the ball to complement his passing.
    Sooner or later you will take the massive shot by the defense because all the rules protecting you as a QB don’t apply when you are a runner.
    In college it was always a rule when defending the triple option to always lay a hard hit on the QB
    even when he pitched the ball.
    The reasoning was by the 4th quarter when the game was on the line the QB would be beat up and his execution would be inhibited.

  47. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    A limited amount of playoff tickets went on sale yesterday at 10am. They sold out in just 3 mins.

  48. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Cheery thought for the day:
     
    “The 49ers have been the No. 2 seed 3 previous times and all 3 times failed to reach the Super Bowl.”

  49. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Beyond that, the 49ers have lost the most NFC Championship games (8) since their inception with the merger in 1970.
    .
    It matters not . . .

  50. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    5-8 in NFC Championship games. 5 of those losses were at home. 2 of which I attended. The 1 road NFCCG win was Chicago in 1988, and it was the Niners last playoff road win . . .

  51. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Niners signed an ex Raiduh draft pick to the practice squad today.
    From Matt Barrows
    “The 49ers announce they’ve signed a LB, Nate Stupar, to the practice squad”

  52. robNo Gravatar says:

    CHUCK (and all)

    if we beat green bay itb would beb the 14th time we’ve played in the NFC championship game ! we’d be tied for most championship games played all time !

  53. robNo Gravatar says:

    HOLY SHIT
    “if we beat green bay itb would beb the 14th time we’ve ”
    that’s the last time i get mushmouth from fat albert to be my proof reader !
    damm !

  54. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Dallas has the most NFCCG appearances at 14. They are 8-6. We are 5-8. Ouch.
    .
    I like our Super Bowl record though.

  55. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    3 game Season now.
    focus on GB.
    Nothing else matters.
    Time to break the GB curse.

  56. robNo Gravatar says:

    NJ

    i like our chances vs. green bay !
    this time we’re at home and it’s the playoffs !
    imho if we can play as well as we did against them the first time we should be ok !

  57. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Hoping like H3LL Fangio and Roman concoct some new strategies to keep them guessing.
     
    Run at Clay Matthews ALL DAY.
     
    Get LMJ on the edge, early and, often.
     
    Randy needs to be productive too.
    The longer Aaron stands on the sidelines, the better.
    Our Defense has to be given time to regroup and, to stay fresh.
     
    This game has to feature the TEs in the passing attack too, since I expect Capers to take Crabtree away.

  58. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Rob I NEVER take a rematch game lightly.
    Especially with Aaron running the show.
    Our Secondary needs to show up BIG.
    We need to generate pressure with the front 4.
    I’m not comfortable with Justin being less than 100%.

  59. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    The more I dissect the weaknesses of our Team, the more I study the Draft Class for DBs and DEs.
    ‘Bama destroyed ND’s DL and exposed a poor tackling LB group.
    Our LBs tackle very well but, like anywhere, LBs need the big boys up front to keep them clean.
    Our DL has to be improved in April.
    Justin can’t be the only piece that makes it go.

  60. winderNo Gravatar says:

    Green Bay sucks eggs and by all rights we should be able to stomp em. If we don’t its probably due to coaching and preparations.

  61. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Good news is, from everything I’ve researched so far, this Draft Class is deep in those areas.
    I could easily see us spending higher picks on the DBs and grabbing some DL/DE in Rds 3-5.
     
    Your UF Gator SS Matt Elam declared early.
    He and Eric Reid are studs.
    Amerson from NC State is also very attractive to me.
    He is like Culliver, converted S that is taller and covers well.
     
    Any of those guys would help us I think.

  62. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Winder I’m with you.
    We have a stronger roster certainly.
    But…..we’re also starting a very young QB in his first Playoff game, against a very good QB with plenty of weapons at his disposal.
    So long as we have 1 more point when the final second ticks off the clock, I don’t give a sh!t.

  63. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Berger, Chance Warmack absolutely destroyed Nix and Te’o.
    ND was exposed.
    ‘Bama has a NFL caliber OL.
     
    If Ice doesn’t hold point for us we’ll exit early.
    We need to get younger and more violent with our down 3.
    Fat Man,Fat Man,FAT MAN!

  64. robNo Gravatar says:

    NJ

    nice post at 6:30 ! all good points imo !

    D-line and CB for sure in 2013 ! with so many picks we should be able to grab one or two of each !

  65. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    NJ- I watched Nix on almost every play. He played well. Teo played poorly. All the other Northern Women D-linemen played poorly too. I remember one play where Nix took on the double team and stood it straight up, allowing Teo to get in the back field for a 5 yard loss, except he missed the tackle. That surely wasn’t Nix’s fault they got a big running play there.

  66. robNo Gravatar says:

    except the part about crabtree ! i expect a good game from him !

  67. robNo Gravatar says:

    imho from what i saw nix had a pretty good game vs. alabama !

  68. robNo Gravatar says:

    OH

    from what i hear on sports radio the draft stock for notre dame players has fallen up to two rounds because of monday’s game !

    maybe we get lucky and nix falls and we get a better chance to go after him ?

  69. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    rob- That would be nice but so far he is saying he is staying in school.

  70. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    The guy that recruited Mantai Teo to Northern Women just agreed to be the new head coach for the Nevada Wolf Pack.

  71. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    BTW, his name is Brian Polian. Yes, Bill Polians son.

  72. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Te’o got punked. Repeatedly.
    My point was, the ‘Bama OL is outstanding.
    ND had no clue how to stop the beatdown.

  73. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    I’d look for DLmen that played ‘Bama and held up.
     
    For that reason, UGA and LSU would be 2 places I’d look closely at.
    The SEC is stacked.
     
    Can’t go wrong looking for Draft recruits from that Conference.

  74. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    We grabbed Aldon from that Conference, I’d love to have Sheldon Richardson from MO too.
    Problem is, he’ll be in high demand.
    I’ve seen Mocks that have him going to StL at 16.
     
    We need to have another good performance from Baalke in April to get some upgrades that payoff.

  75. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    DT Shariff Floyd from UF has declared early too.
    He’s worthy of consideration also.
     
    DE Corey Lemonier from Auburn.
    DE Sam Montgomery from LSU.
    S Kenny Vaccaro and DEs Domontre Moore & Alex Okafor from UT.
    Moore is likely Top 5 so we’ll never get a sniff.
     
    Lot’s of quality options down there in the SEC.

  76. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Rob Ryan was canned as the Dcoordinator of the Cowgurlz.
    They are looking for a coach to transition them back to the 4-3.Roman is still being mentioned for the Jags if they can their HC Mularkey.

  77. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    NJ

    Demontre Moore went to A&M.
    He’s supposed to be Von Miller’s equal.
    A&M has 2 top ten Olinemen in Joeckel & Matthews.

  78. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Yes Bullit.
    A&M, you are correct.
     
    OT Matthews may return from what I’ve been reading.
     
    The SEC is loaded with great Defensive talent.
    Yes,Moore is a beast.
    No way we see him but, we should have plenty of options when our Pick comes up.
     
    Lemonier from Auburn is similar in size to Moore.
    Good numbers also.
    Depending on who’s grading system you buy, Lemonier and Okafor aren’t far apart.
    I always look for the athletcism with a pass rusher.
    Strength and speed are nice, still have to be flexible.
    Love all the options coming out on Defense this year.

  79. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Romans’ 2 College buddies are likely to tab him too.
    Telesco is in the mix for the GM gig in SD which obviously already has a HC vacancy.
    If Caldwell cans Mularky, Roman has an option there as well.

  80. NJ49erNo Gravatar says:

    Any chance we see Justin on the left side to reduce the impact on his left arm?

  81. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

2018 Schedule
9-9, L: Vikings 24, 49ers 16
9-16, W: 49ers 30, Lions 27
9-23, L: Chiefs 38, 49ers 27
9-30, L: Chargers 29, 49ers 27
10-7, L: Cardinals 28, 49ers 18
10-15, L: Packers 33, 49ers 30
10-21, L: Rams 39, 49ers 10
10-28, L: Cardinals 18, 49ers 15
11-1, W: 49ers 34, Raiders 3
11-12, L: Giants 27, 49ers 23

BYE
11-25: @ Tampa, 10:00 am, Sun.
12-2: @ Seattle, 5:20 pm, Sun.
12-9: vs. Broncos, 1:25 pm, Sun.
12-16: vs. Seattle, 1:25 pm, Sun.
12-23: vs. Bears, 1:05 pm, Sun.
12-30: @ Rams, 1:25 pm, Sun.
 
2018 Draft Class
1. OT Mike McGlinchey
2. WR Dante Pettis
3. LB Fred Warner
3. DB Tarvarius Moore
4. DE Kentavius Street
5. CB D.J. Reed
6. S Marcell Harris
7. DT Jullian Taylor
7. WR Richie James
 
2018 Prognostications
Bakkentom: 8-8
Grumpy: 8-8
Mr Fletch: 7-9
Winder: 8-8

Bullit: 9-7
NJ49er: 9-7
Skeebers: 10-6
Spitblood: 0-16
Rob!!!: 16-0

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