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Gil Brandt picks the 49ers to win the NFC West...what?

The most logical pick for the NFC West title this season is the St. Louis Rams. If for no other reason than their stability at quarterback compared to the rest of the division. Yes, it's also slightly homerific on my part. Among the national media, however, it's hardly an open and shut case as some still struggle with the idea of the Rams winning anything after years in the wilderness. Count Gil Brandt, legendary NFL talent evaluator, among those not picking the Rams. 

In a chat with fans this week, Brandt offered his take on the 2011 NFC West champions. His pick: the San Francisco 49ers

But wait, it gets better. He's banking on Alex Smith to make it happen. 

Andrew Luck actually has two years of eligibility left because he was a redshirt. So he might not even be coming out next year. That said, if he does and somebody other than the 49ers drafts him and he chose not to play for them, that team would still have his rights for a year. And I do not think the 49ers will be in position to get him themselves. I think the 49ers will win the NFC West this year.

First off, 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.

This guy is a good coach.

Jim Harbaugh will be in his first year of NFL head coaching. He has two prior years of NFL coaching experience, with the Raiders as a QB coach. I don't personally doubt the guy's ability, but to take Alex Smith and suddenly turn him into a championship QB? 

Harbaugh will be turning the SF Bay into a delightful cabernet for an encore. 

There's also the whole debate about whether or not the 49ers will be leaning on their second-round pick, QB Colin Kaepernick, this season; many believe they will. 

There's no question that the 49ers have a good team. Their defense is stocked with talent up front, and their offense line looks to be a real asset for a dangerous running game. But division champs with Smith under center...we'll see.