San Francisco 49ers

Leading Off: For 49ers, road to title could be paved in ice

For 49ers, road to title could be paved in ice

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• If the 49ers win their final two regular-season games – vs. Atlanta on Monday and at Arizona on Dec. 29 – they’ll likely land the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs, as The Bee’s Matthew Barrows explained earlier this week. In that case, they could play the NFC North winner, probably either Chicago or Green Bay, on the road the first weekend of January. The weather can be a factor at Soldier Field and Lambeau Field, with freezing temperatures, snow and ice all possibilities. But playing – and winning – in those conditions would be good practice for the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

• While watching the Kings on Tuesday, we met a big soccer fan who is enthusiastic about Sacramento’s new USL Pro team, Republic FC. He’s down $50 deposits for four season tickets and is excited about the proposed stadium at Cal Expo, and he expressed confidence that team owner Warren Smith can bring Major League Soccer here for the 2016 season. We’ll share more of his excitement when (if?) we see a facility being erected and a USL Pro schedule for 2014 that includes Sacramento.

• The second class of the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame – football player Tedy Bruschi, swimmers Debbie Meyer and Jeff Float, baseball players Steve Sax and Leron Lee – will be inducted Jan. 25 at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln. They join last year’s inaugural class of Dusty Baker (baseball), Bill Cartwright (basketball), Kevin Johnson (basketball), Tony Lopez (boxing) and Summer Sanders (swimming). That’s a star-studded group, but we’d be more eager to attend a Sacramento Hall of Fame event if it was in, well, Sacramento.

– Tom Couzens

Today’s poll

Where would you

prefer the 49ers play

in an NFC opener ?

• Chicago

• Green Bay

To vote, go to

Wednesday’s results

What do you think of

the 49ers’ offense ?

• It’s the perfect balance of passing, running: 19%

• There’s not enough passing: 18%

• There’s not enough running: 4%

• They need to adjust based on the opponent: 59%

Total votes: 170