Are the 49ers better than a year ago?

Are the 49ers better than a year ago?
October 25, 2012, 4:03 pm
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Through seven games the 49ers are 5-2, and in sole possession of the NFC West.A year ago at this time, the club was 6-1 and on their way to a 9-1 record before a Thanksgiving Day loss at Baltimore.When the season began, I was of the opinion the 49ers would be a better team in 2012 but their regular-season record would be worse. I thought the 49ers would probably win 11 games, down from 13 of a year ago.So are the 49ers a better team that a year ago? I believe so.The run offense is better. The passing game is better (but sometimes it doesn't seem like it). The offensive line is way better. Defensively, the pass defense is a lot better.But special teams are not as good, and the 49ers do not have the outrageous turnover margin of a year ago. Because the 49ers have come back down to earth in the giveaway-takeaway department, the scoring is also down a little.Here's an offensive and defensive statistical breakdown of the 49ers' first seven games, compared to the full 16 games of last season:OFFENSE
Scoring2011: 23.8 points per game, 11th in NFL
2012: 23.6 points per game, 17th in NFLYards per game2011: 310.9, 26th in NFL
2012: , 376.4, ninth in NFLRushing average2011: 4.1 yards per rush, 19th in NFL
2012: 5.9 yards per rush, first in NFLPassing average2011: 7.1 yards per attempt, 16th in NFL
2012: 7.6 yards per attempt, ninth in NFLThird downs2011: 29 percent, 31st in NFL
2012: 36 percent, 19th in NFLDEFENSE
Scoring2011: 14.3 points per game, second in NFL
2012: 14.3 points per game, second in NFLYards per game2011: 308.2, fourth in NFL
2012: 272.3, first in NFLRushing average2011: 3.5 per rush, first in NFL
2012: 3.8 per rush, ninth in NFLPassing average2011: 6.9 yards per attempt, 10th in NFL
2012: 5.9 yards per attempt, first in NFLThird downs2011: 35 percent, 11th in NFL
2012: 34 percent, seventh in NFLGIVEAWAYTAKEAWAYS2011: Plus-28
2012: Plus-2 Sound off on whether you believe the 49ers are a better team than a year ago.

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