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NFL Regression Party! Which Teams Will Disappoint Us 2014? How about the 49ers...

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Yet again Grantland picks the Niners to regress.

They Might Regress: The Niners’ defense should be good again, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be great like the past few years. They lost Donte Whitner/Hitner in the secondary, and more important, they’ll play the first half of the season without NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, two of the best defensive players in the entire league. The season hasn’t even started yet, and the Niners already have all kinds of bad luck.

Related: The 49ers have lost their first two preseason games by a combined score of 57-3. Maybe this isn’t cause for concern, because preseason football is meaningless. On the other hand, one of the reasons they’ve been getting destroyed like this is because the backup quarterbacks in San Francisco (Blaine Gabbert, Josh Johnson) are just that horrendous. 57-3 is how Blaine Gabbert’s entire career has gone.

Paying Colin Kaepernick this summer was a no-brainer. But for someone who runs that often in a division full of outrageous defenses, not having a decent backup plan is insane.

If he stays healthy, we’ll get the same Kaepernick of old — a few unbelievable games, a bunch of ordinary games, and one or two games where he’s unbelievable and then ordinary (like last year’s NFC title game). But this year, it all comes with a running game that won’t be as good (Frank Gore is 31, Carlos Hyde hasn’t done much this preseason), and a defense that won’t be as dominant. Maybe Kaepernick’s good enough to keep things clicking like usual, but he’ll have to be better than he’s been the past two years. It just seems like it’s all setting up for year of struggles with Kap and Jim Harbaugh and the Niners, followed by the inevitable season of redemption next year.

Is this all mostly a gut feeling? Absolutely. Every year people pick the Niners to take a step back, only not many people are predicting it this year. That’s how you know it’ll happen.

They Might Not Regress? N/A. It’s the season for bold predictions, just go with it. It’s fun to root against Jim Harbaugh.

Regression Probability: 10. And so many Harbaugh faces where it looks like he just smelled a fart. Football season!

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