After a miraclous 2011 campaign ended in heartbreak, Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers have their eye on the ultimate prize in 2012.
In their way is a tougher schedule that includes the top three offenses in the league - Green Bay, New Orleans, and New England - as well as a date with last year's Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants.
The best-case scenario, then, for this San Francisco squad is the Super Bowl itself.
Only a year removed from their NFC Championship Game defeat, the fan base believes Harbaugh is ready to take this team back to its dynastic qualities of the 1980s and 90s.
They return all 11 starters on the league's most all-around elite defense, and even produced what they believe will be an upgrade at outside linebacker, where Aldon Smith will replace Parys Haralson after Smith was primarily played on 3rd downs or in obvious passing situations as a pass rusher.
The rookie acquired 14.5 sacks - half a sack away from the rookie sack record - and will be ...