The San Francisco 49ers are 7-1 (undefeated on the road; 4-0) at the halfway point of the 2011-2012 NFL season and are clicking on all cylinders.
They are on a six-game winning streak, and have outscored their opponents 149-74 in those six games. With a rookie NFL head coach in Jim Harbaugh one would expect a rough start to his debut season, but he and his team have failed to meet those low expectations.
San Francisco's defense allowed only 15 points per game through the first eight games, while their offense averages 26 points per game. Starting quarterback, Alex Smith, who many critics believe cannot cut it in the NFL, is doing what his job demands him to do.
Smith has taken care of the ball (only two interceptions), thrown for 10 touchdowns, managed the game and put his team in positions to win so far this season.
With that being said, their division is not a tough one to compete in, and they are as much of a surprise team as the 6-2 Detroit Lions and the 5-3 Buffalo Bills are this season. The tougher half of their regular season schedule (week 10 against NYG, week 11 @ BAL and week 15 against PIT) is coming up and this will be the test to find out if the 49ers are the real deal.
They have to beat the Giants, Ravens and the Steelers, as rap artist, Drake says "so I know it's real," before they will be considered a true threat to win it all.
Until they can prove they can perform at this high level for an entire season, as well as the playoffs, then the question will continue to be asked, are they "The Real Deal or a Fake Offer?"