Postcard from camp: 49ers
In Santa Clara, Calif., at the 49ers' year-round training facility. It's debatable which construction job is more impressive: the one that has been done to the team's roster the last half-dozen years, or the one being done next door, where a state-of-the-art stadium is rising from a former parking lot. The 49ers clearly are one of the league's more talented squads, with a defense that will challenge for the lead in every major statistical category, a kicking game that is second to none, including the one across the bay in Oakland, and an offense that should be upgraded by additions to the passing game.
The 49ers will be tested out of the gate, with a trip to Green Bay before hosting the Lions. They don't play a division game until Week 7, when in consecutive weeks they'll host Seattle, visit Arizona and host the Rams. Also keep an eye on the final six weeks, when they will hit the road four times. It's not implausible that the division race could come down to the final three weeks, when they play at New England and Seattle before hosting the Cardinals, who beat them 21-19 last year.