Brandt: 49ers will win the NFC West

NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt is usually focused on personnel, but his Tuesday chat this week for some reason ended up focusing on predictions for 2011 division winners – and some of the picks may be surprising.

Brandt wasn’t asked for an NFC West prediction when he fielded a question about the 49ers’ QB situation, but he offered it up anyway – stating San Francisco as his pick to win the division.

“I do not think the 49ers will be in position to (draft Andrew Luck in 2012),” Brandt said. “I think the 49ers will win the NFC West this year.

“First off,” he explained, “they have a good nucleus, and I think Jim Harbaugh will do wonders with Alex Smith. That will put them in position to win that division.”

Other prediction-based comments he made during the chat:

  • The Cowboys will not make the playoffs. “I hope I’m wrong,” said the former Cowboys exec, “but I don’t currently have the Cowboys making the playoffs. I do think they will be improved, but not sure it will be improved enough on defense. I’ve got the Eagles and Giants ranked ahead of them in the NFC East.”
  • Not only will the Bears fail to repeat in the NFC North, but they won’t even finish second. “Not only do I have the Packers winning that division, I have the Lions ranked ahead of them as well. Their biggest weakness is offensive line, and I’m not convinced that Jay Cutler is a QB that can win on a regular basis.”
  • The Raiders will win the AFC West.

For the entire chat transcript, click here.

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