On one hand, finishing with a .500 record would be a massive improvement for the San Francisco 49ers in 2019 after winning a combined 10 games the past two seasons.

And that's what Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr is predicting in his latest rundown of 2019 record predictions for each team across the league.

Orr wrote:

A lot of people are pegging this as the year that everything finally materializes in San Francisco. The problem? Their division is tough, and they have a super early bye week. There's a chance the 49ers glide into Week 4 at 2-1 or even 3-0 (Bengals, Steelers, Buccaneers), but the meat of their schedule is backloaded with little respite. They finish Saints-Falcons-Rams-Seahawks.

The Niners also host quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, as well as having to travel to take on the Baltimore Ravens in December, before that final slate of four games Orr mentioned.

San Francisco owns the 11th most difficult schedule, in terms of last year's teams' win-loss records. But the league parity on a year-to-year basis makes it tough to put too much stock into that ranking. Plus, as the Niners found out all too well last season, even one injury to a key player can change the entire outlook for any squad.

What Orr failed to mention, though, is the 49ers will be undertaking a lot more Eastern Time Zone games this season -- four, in total, with two of those matchups coming in Weeks 1 and 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals, respectively.

Last year, the Niners had just one East Coast game: Week 12 versus the Buccaneers, which San Francisco lost 27-9 despite coming off its bye week.

Perhaps the 49ers have a bit better luck in Tampa Bay this season, but they'll need a little more against some of those tough teams to close out 2019.
  • Peter Panacy
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    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.