5. 4. Smith Will Break Sack Record
Okay, so this isn’t that bold. Last season, Smith was waltzing to Michael Strahan’s record before Justin Smith’s triceps injury knocked him out for the last two-and-a-half regular season games. Aldon had 19.5 sacks going into the last three games of 2012, but stayed on that number. With Justin still hampered in the playoffs, Aldon was still ineffective; he didn’t collect a sack, but still had 10 hurries and five hits.
Some will point to that and say the third-year linebacker needs his defensive end to occupy multiple blockers to be effective. Justin Smith is such a dominant force as a 3-4 defensive end, so it’d be a lie to say that Smith doesn’t create opportunities for his teammate. However, Aldon Smith had 87 total pressures and 50 defensive stops in 2012, according the Pro Football Focus. The elder Smith recently inked an extension with the Niners, but he turns 34 on Sept. 30. He’s getting close to the end. I still expect at least one more top-flight season from “The Cowboy.” The Smith & Smith partnership will hit its peak in 2013, as Aldon breaks the sack record.