The San Francisco 49ers are building a Super Bowl contender, and some even think that this could happen as soon as this season. They were willing to part with multiple assets to trade up take quarterback Trey Lance with the third overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft to go alongside promising players like tight end George Kittle and wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel.
This is one of the most interesting teams entering training camp because there are a lot of questions surrounding how they plan on operating, especially with a No. 3 overall pick who is “not in a QB competition” with incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan, who suggests the job is firmly Jimmy G’s.
San Francisco 49ers 2021 Schedule Analysis
The 49ers have the easiest schedule in the NFL based on expected win totals, and it is not even that close. This is really saying something when they are in such a competitive division. Games vs NFC West foes Arizona, Los Angeles and Seattle will be no cakewalk, but the schedule sets up so nicely outside of the division.
They start with games vs Detroit and Philadelphia, two teams that could compete to be the worst team in the NFL. They also get Jacksonville, Houston, Atlanta and Cincinnati as well. Most of these easy games are on the road, meaning the tougher non-division matchups come at home against Green Bay, Indianapolis and Minnesota. You could argue the best teams on the schedule all have to travel to the Bay Area, which only makes the schedule that much easier.
|Week 1||Sept. 12||at Detroit Lions|
|Week 2||Sept. 19||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|Week 3||Sept. 26||Green Bay Packers|
|Week 4||Oct. 3||Seattle Seahawks|
|Week 5||Oct. 10||Arizona Cardinals|
|Week 6||Bye Week|
|Week 7||Oct. 24||Indianapolis Colts|
|Week 8||Oct. 31||at Chicago Bears|
|Week 9||Nov. 7||Arizona Cardinals|
|Week 10||Nov. 15||Los Angeles Rams|
|Week 11||Nov. 21||at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Week 12||Nov. 28||Minnesota Vikings|
|Week 13||Dec. 5||at Seattle Seahawks|
|Week 14||Dec. 12||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Week 15||Dec. 15||Atlanta Falcons|
|Week 16||Dec. 23||at Tennessee Titans|
|Week 17||Jan 2||Houston Texans|
|Week 18||Jan 9||at Los Angeles Rams|
San Francisco 49ers News & Picks
Last Year’s History
The San Francisco 49ers finished the 2019 regular season with a record of 13-3, marking their best finish since 2011. San Francisco started the season by winning their first eight games, becoming the second straight NFC West team to accomplish the feat.
San Francisco went 5-1 against NFC West opponents in 2019, with their only loss being an overtime setback to the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers cruised to an NFC West Division title, earning the top overall seed in the NFC.
The 49ers hosted their first two playoff games in 2019 and won each game by a comfortable margin. San Francisco beat the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 27-10 in the divisional round, then dispatched the Green Bay Packers by a score of 37-20 in the NFC Championship Game.
San Francisco faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl a season ago and had the lead heading into the fourth quarter. The 49ers ended up falling by a final score of 31-20.
San Francisco 49ers Key players
Jimmy Garoppolo is entering his fourth season as the starting quarterback in San Francisco, and he needs to take a step forward this season. Garoppolo did throw for 3,978 yards a season ago, but most of his attempts were at short range.
His 27 touchdown passes a season ago were great, but he also threw 13 interceptions. San Francisco featured one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL a season ago, but the 49ers need Garoppolo to give the offense some balance.
George Kittle is entering his fourth season in the NFL, and he has quickly emerged as one of the best tight ends in the league. Kittle has racked up more than 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons and is the top target for Garoppolo.
Kittle has just 12 touchdown catches through his first three seasons, but that number is expected to climb in 2020. The 49ers also use their star tight end as an excellent blocker in the running game, and he is extremely important to their success.
The 49ers selected Nick Bosa with the second overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and the Ohio State product immediately transformed the defense. The rookie racked up nine sacks a season ago and anchored the defensive line.
Bosa is only expected to get better as he continues to mature, and big things could be ahead for him in 2020. San Francisco’s defense was terrific a season ago, and the addition of Bosa was a huge part of the reason why.
San Francisco 49ers New Additions
The San Francisco 49ers did not have a ton of needs heading into free agency, but they still brought in a few big names. San Francisco signed wide receiver Travis Benjamin to a one-year deal, giving Garoppolo another weapon to throw to.
On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers signed DE Kerry Hyder and LB Joe Walker. Both players could be contributors on a defense that is already extremely talented.
San Francisco had the 14th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and selected DT Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw is from South Carolina and should provide some depth on the defensive line.
The biggest move that the 49ers made was trading for LT Trent Williams. Williams is a Pro Bowl performer on the offensive line and should help protect Garoppolo.
San Francisco 49ers Key Subtractions
The biggest loss facing the San Francisco 49ers is OT Joe Staley. Staley was a fixture on the offensive line but decided to retire at the end of the 2019 season.
DT DeForest Buckner was dealt to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason, and that will create a hole on that side of the ball. DEs Anthony Zettel and Sheldon Day were unrestricted free agents and decided to sign elsewhere.
The offense could also take a hit with the loss of WR Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders had a solid 2019 season with the 49ers but signed with the New Orleans Saints during free agency.
The NFC West had two teams make the playoffs a season ago, and the same thing is expected in 2020. San Francisco won the division with a record of 13-3, but the Seattle Seahawks were right behind them at 11-5.
The Los Angeles Rams were in the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, and they still have plenty of talent to make another run in the division. The Arizona Cardinals continued to get better throughout the 2019 season, and they are expected to take a big jump this season.
Even though the 49ers went 5-1 against NFC West Division opponents a season ago, it will not be easy to pull off the same feat again in 2020.
San Francisco 49ers Defense
The San Francisco 49ers allowed just 19.4 points per game a season ago, which ranked eighth in the league. The 49ers were the best passing defense in the NFL, allowing just 169.2 passing yards per game.
San Francisco racked up 48 team sacks a season ago, and they were also great at creating turnovers. The 49ers had 12 interceptions and forced 23 fumbles, which led to 15 fumble recoveries.
Nick Bosa leads the 49ers defensive line, and that line can be devastating to opposing quarterbacks. The 49ers defense was able to pick up their offense many times a season ago and will be able to carry the load again in 2020 if needed.
San Francisco 49ers Offense
The 49ers offense last year was nothing short of beautiful to watch until the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl where they looked like they had already won the game and could pack it in. Besides that let-down, and the predictable first-half interceptions thrown most games by Jimmy G, this team could have gone undefeated.
They were second only to the high-flying Ravens in touchdowns scored and rushing yards in 2019 and Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling should be able to keep them near the top again this season.
Improvement has its biggest opportunity in the hands and legs of their QB, who needs to make just a few better decisions each game in order to take his team to being Super Bowl winners instead of runners up.
San Francisco 49ers FAQs
Who owns the San Francisco 49ers?
Denise BeBartolo York
What is the San Francisco 49ers' all-time record?
How many Super Bowls have the San Francisco 49ers won?
5 (1981, 1984, 1988, 1989, and 1994)
Who is the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers?
Jimmy Garoppolo (for now)