13-4, 1st NFC West
How Far Can Jimmy G Take The 49ers? - The San Francisco 49ers are in a good spot for the future, especially with Jimmy G under center. He went 5-0 when taking over last season, but a full 16 games is going to be a different story given the upcoming schedule. We also have to look at the receiving core, Marquise Goodwin has been the favored option, and Pierre Garcon found his way back to the 49ers last season before landing on IR. The tight end position is a bit injury prone, so it leaves us asking can Jimmy G make the most of this group, or will he need more?
Is Richard Sherman That Much Of An Upgrade? - Richard Sherman is over the age of 30, and coming off an Achilles tear. That does not bode well for a corner, especially with some of the speed threats that are around the league. Sherman is going to be that vet on the team to help out some of the younger players. Witherspoon has struggled on and off so far in his career, but has flashed some ability to be a good corner. Sherman also brings leadership to a young group that has yet to develop a Patrick Willis type figure within the locker room. Sherman will likely help more off the field than on.
What Does The Running Game Do Now? - The hype around Jerick McKinnon was high coming into the year, mainly because Kyle Shanahan has done wonders for running backs within his system. McKinnon tore his ACL in a walk through, which changes the landscape of this offense quite a bit. Matt Breida and newly signed Alfred Morris are going to be the duo. Neither bringing the athleticism of McKinnon, so the play-calling might change a bit. Morris looked fresh in preseason, and is going to get first cracks at being the lead guy, although Breida brings a bit more versatility. With an improved offensive line, this should still be a productive running game.
Is The Offensive Line A Work In Progress? - San Francisco has been in rebuild mode, adding Jimmy G through trade last year, but then adding Jerick McKinnon. San Francisco has also put together a sneaky good offensive line. They took Mike McGlinchey in the draft, and added Weston Richburg. Both are going to be a tremendous upgrade. This is a line that will be on the rise over the next few seasons given the age, and in this Shanahan offense, and good run blocking o-line is going to be key. The 49ers probably have one weak spot on the line at right guard, and that is about it. This will be helpful within the division that tends to focus on defense.
Will The Wins Show This Year? - We have all been paying attention to the rebuild for the 49ers, but will it show in the win column this season? They open up with a brutal start to the year, facing Minnesota, Detroit, Kansas City, and the Chargers. It doesn't get easier from there, facing Green Bay, the Rams, Broncos, and Bears in some non division games from there on out. While the 49ers will be competitive, it is hard to see them pulling out many wins this season. If this was more of a cupcake schedule, we could be looking at San Francisco as a sneaky team within the division.