Prediction: The 49ers defense will not finish top-10 in 2013
I'm sick of people just assuming that the 49ers defense will be a top-10 unit forever and ever because they had two (really, one and three-quarters) good years.
I think that the majority of the key contributors (Justin Smith in particular) are on the severe decline. I also believe that after losing their best DB (Dashon Goldson) that secondary will look like even more of a sieve than it had in the last few games of the regular season last year and into the playoffs.
The San Francisco 49ers will *not* finish in the top-10 in points per game allowed and will *not* finish in the top-10 in defensive DVOA (per footballoutsiders.com). That's my big prediction for 2013.
Now, obviously, that' doesn't mean that the 49ers will miss the playoffs or suck as a team, but the days of dominant 49er defense are over, and this team, at its ceiling, will look more like the 2010 Saints or 2011 Packers, *at best*, assuming that the offense progresses even further from last year.