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by
Bridget Johnson

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January 6, 2014 - 7:15 am

kaepernick-gun-1

That’s an Instagram of San Francisco 49ers quaterback Colin Kaepernick and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (formerly of the 49ers practice squad) hitting the range in the offseason.

Yesterday, as Wisconsites crowed that the frigid temperatures and the not-at-all-green field in Green Bay would be too much for the California team, Kaepernick hit his target. He played without any sleeves under his jersey and led the team to a 23-20 victory in the first round of the NFL playoffs. The game was sealed in the final seconds on a 33-yard field goal from veteran kicker Phil Dawson, acquired last year from the Cleveland Browns.

The Wild Card round this weekend certainly had its nailbiters and surprises, with the Indiana Colts edging the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 and the New Orleans Saints topping the Philadelphia Eagles 26-24. The San Diego Chargers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-10.

Next weekend the playoffs head to the divisional round. The first game on Saturday is the Saints and Seahawks, followed by the New England Patriots and the Colts. On Sunday, the Niners play the Carolina Panthers and the Chargers face off with the Denver Broncos.

As a longtime 49ers fan back to my childhood and the Joe Montana era, I’m pretty partial to this assessment by ESPN NFL writer Kevin Seifert:

The 49ers are the best team in football, and if they continue to play the way they did Sunday, they will win Super Bowl XLVIII next month.

Their offense is poised to outscore the Carolina Panthers next weekend in the NFC divisional round. Their defense is a good matchup for the Seattle Seahawks, their likely opponent in the NFC Championship Game. They’re tougher than the Denver Broncos and more versatile than the New England Patriots.

I don’t regard this prediction as particularly bold, at least not to an audience that has paid attention to the NFL over the past two months. Sunday marked the 49ers’ seventh consecutive victory and their 12th in the past 14 games. Their two losses during that period came against two playoff teams (the Panthers and Saints) by a total of four points.

…I realize that a 20-point victory Sunday might have filled the 49ers bandwagon more quickly, but to me a championship-caliber team is measured best when it faces adverse conditions. No one cruises to the Super Bowl title. At some point, you must overcome circumstances that would otherwise sink you.

You know where my fidelity is at. It was a tough season last time around when my Niners made it to the Super Bowl and my Fighting Irish made it to the BCS championship and both lost. Now it’s all about the Quest for Six — and, today, the many Packers fans here in D.C. (yep, there are a lot of them in the nation’s capital) who hate me. Share your thoughts about where you think the race to the Vince Lombardi Trophy is headed.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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If the 49'ers beat Carolina and get up do Seattle that will be a concussion fest. Both teams have hard hitting defenses and they do not like each other. Seattle will win that game, but will be so beaten up that their hair will hurt. New England from the AFC will take them down. If Seattle plays Carolina they win the NFC and the super bowl.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I must say...
from Gene and Vic Washington and Brodie and Ted Kwalick
To the nothingness OJ era and onto the Bill Walsh and his great great team of the eighties...
I have nothing more to gain with an additional half hour or more of sheer anxiety(plus the bad ref calls) in watching and hoping for the poetry of a great play to put us (the Niners and I) over the top.
I`ll keep an eye on them, indeed. But the "character" of players leaves much to be desired. Best wishes to the Niner fans.
(I wouldn`t bet on football results with your money)
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been a 49er fan since the early 60's but I like Aaron Rodgers and was actually hoping for the Packers yesterday. I didn't like the way the 49ers treated Alex Smith, who lost his job due to injury, after leading his team to an 11-0 start. Didn't seem right to me. But that's pro sports, I guess. What have you done for us lately?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Go Giants! Oh, wait. . .
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
While watching the Packer game, and seeing players on the field with their arms exposed to the elements, one would, if they didn't know, have to think that the weather was just fine and dandy, and without it snowing, and without evidence of extreme wind, one sitting watching the game wouldn't not realize the cold at the time of the game.

But it has to be really nice to schedule such a game, in such a cold environment at night, when it is the coldest possible time of the day.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't count out the Chargers. They've shown that they can win on the road in horrible weather conditions, and they've already beaten the Broncos once in Denver. Payton Manning is old, past his prime and susceptible to neck injuries. He's lost his mobility, and historically since college acquired the reputation of being something of a choke artist in big games. He's the football version of A-Rod. At this point in time Phillip Rivers is the better quarterback. And over all, the Chargers are the tougher team.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes. An all CA super bowl would be great. The Chargers will blow through Denver again. Count on it.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sadly, my Niners (way back to Kezar), like my Irish, will falter -- yet I am proud of their season overall and yesterday's result. Besides, the Giants are just around the corner. "Talkin' baseball..."
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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