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ESPN writer defends calling the 49ers NFL's best team

By Brent Stecker

If there's one surefire way to draw the ire of the Seahawks fanbase, it's calling the 49ers the best team in the NFL.

Kevin Seifert, a national NFL writer for ESPN.com, learned that after his column declaring the 49ers the best team in football went online Sunday following San Francisco's wild-card win over the Packers in subzero temperatures in Green Bay.

Seifert joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" to discuss the controversy around his column on Monday, and he didn't back down from his stance. The fact that San Francisco hasn't lost since Nov. 17 is a big reason for that.

vernon davis catch
Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis is one of the reasons ESPN.com NFL writer Kevin Seifert called the 49ers the most "well-rounded" team in the league. (AP)
"It's not as if the 49ers snuck into the playoffs, or it's not as if they were not a good team during the regular season," Seifert said. "This is a team that's won seven straight games now, so you're basically talking about not having lost in almost two months, and going back further it's 12 of the past 14, so they've been playing pretty well for a pretty long period of time."

It's worth noting that there's a reason San Francisco had to get through Green Bay on Sunday while the Seahawks were on a bye, which is that the 49ers finished a game behind Seattle in the NFC West and had to settle for a wild-card berth due to four losses – all against playoff teams, including at Seattle 29-3 on Sept. 15.

"They had a little stretch in the middle of the year where they were trying to figure out their offense," Seifert said. "Colin Kaepernick was certainly having some struggles, but he seems to have found a groove, and getting Michael Crabtree back helped them, and I think they've been on a pretty decent roll here for a while."

While the 49ers ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak, the Seahawks lost two of their final four games, including a 19-17 decision in San Francisco on Dec. 8.

"(The 49ers are) pretty much across the board performing at a pretty high level, and I think you can look at a lot of the playoff teams, probably including the Seahawks, and say there's some things that towards the end of the year they were not doing as well," Seifert said. "In the Seahawks' case, the offense certainly hit a bump, and I don't think that's any big secret. And maybe that bump will get erased if Percy Harvin comes back and they get that element in their offense, but (it's) certainly a reason why the Seahawks finished the season 2-2 after an 11-win start."

When it comes down to it, Seifert believes San Francisco is the most balanced of the eight teams left in the postseason.

"I would say they're the most well-rounded. I don't see anything that they're really struggling at right now, or anywhere where there's a hole or a significant weakness," he said.

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