Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. joined me in picking the San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC West back before the regular season began.
He's sticking with that selection after watching Troy Smith lead the 49ers to consecutive victories. The Seattle Seahawks lead the division with a 5-4 record, but Williamson questioned whether Matt Hasselbeck could hold up for the remainder of the season.
"Arizona is terrible, but I was still pretty shocked what Seattle did to those guys," Williamson said by phone Friday. "I thought Seattle was done when the Giants went there and stomped them. It is so hard to get a feel for that team. I give Pete Carroll credit. They don’t have a lot. Can Hasselbeck hold up? I have a hard time saying they are going to win the division. There is not much about that team I like."
OK, but the 49ers?
"I just think they are the most talented," Williamson said. "I still think they win it by default. I still think they are the best team in the division, just as most of us thought preseason."
The 49ers take a 3-6 record into their Week 11 game against Tampa Bay. Williamson loves the matchup from the 49ers' standpoint.
"I think they will win it handily, taking away the inside run," Williamson said. "It is going to be a Frank Gore-dominated game. Troy Smith brings the attitude they need, the play-making skills, the toughness. Justin Smith, Manny Lawson, those guys are pretty good pass-rushers."
The 49ers have won three of their last four games. Beating the Bucs would make it four of five before San Francisco hits a stretch with four road games in five weeks.