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Preseason power rankings: No. 2 San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers were this close to making the Super Bowl in 2013. This year they hope to close that gap.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Record: 11-5

Notable Losses: Tarell Brown, Anthony Dixon, Jonathan Goodwin, Carlos Rogers

Notable Gains: Antoine Bethea, Chris Cook, Blaine Gabbert (trade), Jonathan Martin (trade), Stevie Johnson (trade), Brandon Lloyd

Draft Class: Jimmie Ward, Carlos Hyde, Marcus Martin, Chris Borland, Brandon Thomas, Bruce Ellington, Dontae Johnson, Aaron Lynch, Keith Reaser, Kenneth Acker, Kaleb Ramsey, Trey Millard (waived)

The Facts: The San Francisco 49ers are an extraordinarily talented team. Let's just start there. We're looking at the one of two teams that can take Seattle off the top of the NFC and the only team that has a realistic shot of taking the NFC West crown from the Seahawks.

They have an offensive line with Joe Staley (3x All-Pro) ,Mike Iupati (2x All-Pro), Alex Boone (who just ended his holdout), Anthony Davis (who's started every game for the past for seasons) and Daniel Kilgore. That's a good offensive line for Colin Kaepernick and an offensive backfield consisting of the ageless Frank Gore, as well as young, talented runners in Carlos Hyde and Marcus Lattimore and Bruce Miller. Needless to say, the 49ers run game comes from a lot more than the legs of Kaepernick.

At wide receiver, Kaepernick has no shortage of targets. There's the "mediocre" Michael Crabtree, reliable veteran Anquan Boldin, speedy Stevie Johnson, Quinton Patton and Vance McDonald, who are poised to breakout in 2014. Talented rookie Bruce Ellington, veteran Brandon Lloyd, dynamic tight end Vernon Davis and Derek Carrier, whose speed convinced the 49ers to give him a chance on their roster.

Defensively they're fine. They have enough talent at linebacker and on the defensive line to survive while Aldon Smith serves out his nine game suspension and NaVorro Bowman returns from his ACL and MCL tears in midseason.

It's their defensive backfield that concerns me. Trumaine Brock is good and Eric Reid had an impressive rookie season, but Chris Culliver was overwhelmed in the last meaningful game he played (which was Super Bowl XLVII ,he missed all of last season with an ACL tear). Jimmie Ward is a rookie and Chris Cook had a poor performance as a Viking.

Can their formidable pass rush make up for what they lack in the backfield? Yes, but only to a point.

Predicted Record: 12-4. Wins against Seahawks, Rams (x2), Cardinals, Raiders, Chiefs, Chargers, Eagles, Redskins, Giants, Cowboys and Bears

If you disagree with my ranking and assessment remember: Unless it's something crazy,your guess is as good as mine.