The Niners came within a couple botched punt returns of making it to the Super Bowl last year. Alex Smith displayed shocking competence in the playoff win over the Saints, but it was clear the team needed an upgrade under center. Despite offering him the best chance to win, the team was unable to lure Peyton Manning to the Bay Area in free agency. Having been unsuccessful in his Pey-Pey quest, Jim Harbaugh had to lie to the media about ever being interested in replacing Alex Smith. Now the team has to soldier on with the less desirable former no. 1 pick, along with a bunch of new castoffs from the championship Giants team.

Five Fast Facts About The 49ers:

– Patrick Willis loves playing Settlers of Catan and dares you to make fun of him for it.

– E:60 had Vernon Davis paint a self-portrait as part of their ongoing segment, “Let’s Make Athletes Do Things They’re Not Good At.”

– A lot of us used to think Michael Crabtree was gonna be good. We can all be kind of silly, sometimes.

– Colin Kaepernick’s sneakerhead game is strong to moderately strong.

– Fan base is still not yet forgiven for Niners in Paris.

Notable acquisitions: Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss, A.J. Jenkins, Perrish Cox

Notable departures: Josh Morgan, Adam Snyder, Shawntae Spencer, Madieu Williams

Vegas win total over/under: 10 wins

KSK verdict: OVER

Fantasy player you’ll want to dig at with rusty hooks: Frank Gore

Even as he’s about to hit 30, Gore’s still a solid back. Nevertheless, the longstanding caveat is that he can’t stay healthy. Except last season when he did, only it was for the first time he’s appeared in all 16 games since 2006. I wouldn’t bet on a repeat of that. And now that the Niners have invested in Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James, who are bound to leech carries away from Gore.

Fan forecast, by UPROXX colleague and FilmDrunk editor, Vince Mancini:

Oh, what to say about the 49ers this year? Such a solid team, and yet… Alex Smith. He led us (can I call the team “us?” Serious Football Fans use the personal pronoun, don’t they?) to a 13 and 3 record last year, repeatedly came through when he needed to most, and yet his happy feet and baby hands continue to inspire no confidence. What can I say? It’s a quarterback town, we didn’t even like Steve Young until he won a Super Bowl. And when I say “a quarterback town” I mean Joe Montana used to played here and it’s going to be at least 2045 before we let anyone forget about this fact. My Montana jersey soaked up a lot of Singletary-induced tears (and don’t even get me started on Owen Pochman) and in my darker moments, I even longed for Jeff Garcia. Does that mean we think we deserve a playoff-caliber football team? Of course not, thinking past suffering somehow entitles you to success is a Masshole thing. In San Francisco, we’re just happy to be there, like Alex Smith. If the team sucks, we can always go back to blowing each other and protesting happy meals.

Certain friends of mine give Jim Harbaugh a lot of crap for courting Peyton Manning in the offseason, but I’d be madder at him if he hadn’t. When you’re returning all of the starters from one of the league’s best defenses last year and adding weapons on offense (no, I’m not thinking of Randy Moss or Brandon Jacobs, I’m not that optimistic, but I don’t think they’re going to hurt), you have to capitalize. How often is the team going to be this stacked with talent? The opportunity comes along maybe once every ten years at best. So if a certain washed-up bumpkin with neckAIDS (Brendan’s words) and a less-than laser rocket arm only has a couple good seasons left in him, so what? That matched the 49ers’ needs perfectly. What’s the downside, hurting Alex Smith’s fwagile confidence? He was playing behind Shaun Hill a few years ago, I have to think the disappointment receptors in his brain have long since burned out, like the skinny kid on my rugby team whose nipples became permanently numb from all the titty twisters. Alex Smith is like that crappy boyfriend with a knack for bringing you flowers the day before you were going to dump him, doing the absolute minimum to keep stringing this unhealthy relationship along. He’s a crappy boyfriend with numb nipples, according to my stretched analogies. And the worst part about it is that he seems like a really good dude. It’s easy to root against a sociopath like Terrell Owens or a dork like Eli Manning, but Alex Smith seems like one of your friends who’s just trying his best. I want nothing but the best for him, I just don’t expect it. But if I can be permitted a hope, it’s that he does just well enough not to fuck things up, like last year, only slightly better.

Speaking of fuck ups, Kyle Williams is still on the team, and might even be returning punts in the opener. This is how you can tell the difference between San Francisco and other sports towns. Yes, we’re fair-weather fans and we chug cock on Castro Street and all of that, but people from Boston are still talking about Bill fucking Buckner 20-odd years later and Bill Buckner was an all-star. No one even knew who Kyle Williams was until he started muffing punts. Am I glad he’s still on the team? What am I, retarded? Of course not. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t give me a slight tinge of pride that he didn’t get run out of town on a rail like he certainly would have in some philistine backwater like Boston or Chicago or Philadelphia, where they can barely read, let alone eat macrobiotically. And let’s face it, a smug feeling of civilized superiority is the lifeblood of this city. So cheers to you, Kyle Williams, you season-ruining beef-handed pile of monkey shit, try not to fuck up so much this time. And God help the rest of the country if Kyle Williams takes one to the house, you will never stop hearing about it. Just thinking about a story of redemption like that is enough to make every pedantic sportswriter’s wrinkly dick hard. And to think! It never would’ve happened if that genius Jim Harbaugh hadn’t stuck by his man! As an admirable quality in coaches, we underrate loyalty! Oh Jesus, it hurt just imagining that. I couldn’t wish that on you, even if it meant the Niners winning.

“Like last year, but better” shall be our rallying cry. If it happens, great. If not, oh well, it will suck, but at least we’re not Oakland.

Finally, anyone who doesn’t think Justin Smith’s Anheuser Busch tattoo is awesome can suck all of the dicks.

The best gift a white athlete can give to a city is to be a big fat party animal (and I mean that in the least Roethlisbergery way possible). The fact that he doesn’t talk about Coors or Jesus only makes it that much better. Coors is what rich frat boys drink when they’re slumming it. Fuck you and fuck Coors, go Niners.