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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


ESPN simulation has 49ers earning No. 1 seed but losing to Cowboys in playoffs

Sep 7, 2020 at 6:53 AM--


ESPN ran its annual simulation of the entire season based on its own Football Power Index (FPI). How did the San Francisco 49ers fare? The good news is that they won the NFC West and earned the even-more-valuable-this-season No. 1 seed in the playoffs, holding off the Los Angeles Rams after both teams finished the season with matching 11-5 records.

ESPN has the 49ers going 3-0 before finally losing to the Philadelphia Eagles at home. They don't just lose, but get embarrassed by a score of 42-7. San Francisco bounces back by routing the Miami Dolphins 51-17 and goes on to suffer regular-season losses against the Rams, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, and Dallas Cowboys.

Below are the projected NFC West standings.

  1. San Francisco 49ers - 11-5
  2. Los Angeles Rams - 11-5
  3. Seattle Seahawks - 9-7
  4. Arizona Cardinals - 8-8

The simulation, which bakes in some of analyst Mike Clay's player projections, has the 49ers finishing as the No. 2 offense in the NFL with 457 points scored. That's second only to the Baltimore Ravens' 459.

A top offense and home-field advantage don't help the 49ers in the playoffs, it would seem. ESPN has Kyle Shanahan's squad being knocked off 39-26 in the Divisional Round by the wildcard Cowboys, who went on to earn a Super Bowl berth.

The Kansas City Chiefs end up emerging as repeat champions with a 42-17 win over Dallas.

None of this, of course, means anything. The 2020 season will be played on the football field and not within a simulation. So we'll have to wait to see how the real thing unfolds.





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