Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting the 2021 49ers Season, Part 1

Aug 4, 2021 at 5:33 PM--

The 2020 49ers season marked a disappointing one for the team, a campaign they must bounce back from. Fortunately for them, this season's schedule looks to be slightly easier than last year's and will help them ease back into playoff-caliber football with a whirlwind of moving pieces such as a quarterback competition, an injury-plagued roster, and a plethora of new pieces. Training camp has given us a sneak peek at the quality of football we can expect and helps us gauge injury levels throughout the team. Let's jump into the schedule and see how San Francisco fares.

Update: Part 2 can be found here

Week 1: Detroit Lions (Win)

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have jumped into an all-out rebuild after trading star QB Matthew Stafford while not adding many valuable pieces to offset the loss. QB Jared Goff has taken the helm of the Detroit offense and will face a familiar, tenacious San Francisco defense that has several returning pieces. It is likely defensive ends Nick Bosa and Dee Ford will be ready by Week 1 and will provide additional help against the Lions offensive line, likely the Lions' strongest unit. It's likely that Jimmy Garoppolo will still be the starter at this time, and shouldn't face any insurmountable problems from the Detroit defense, which ranks among the bottom of the league.

The only concern the 49ers should have with this matchup is the team's prior woes in Week 1 games, as San Francisco has only won one Week 1 game in Shanahan's tenure as head coach. The offense seems to have been the major culprit behind this cold streak either due to rust or a lack of initial team chemistry.

Nonetheless, the potent 49ers offense and solid defense should be enough to get the victory here in what might actually be a closer game than expected.

Week 2: Philadelphia Eagles (Win)

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The second week on the 49ers schedule happens to be another early game on the East Coast. One of the primary factors to consider here in the timeframe of the game. Based on the West Coast, the 49ers roster could potentially have a problem adjusting to the time zone difference in Philadelphia for an extended period of time, especially because the team likely won't have a chance to return to The Bay between Week 1 and Week 2.

If we dive into the teams' rosters, their talent and composition of both teams aren't particularly close. The 49ers have a better unit for every position on their respective rosters. With unproven and inefficient QB Jalen Hurts leading Philadelphia's offense, it could quickly turn into a sloppy game for the Eagles, something that their defense certainly won't be able to overcome.

Look for this to be a game the 49ers take quite easily.

Week 3: Green Bay Packers (Win)

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Marking this game down as a win might come as quite a big surprise due to the phenomenal season the Packers just had last year. Coming off a 13-3 season with a conference championship berth and Aaron Rodgers return to training camp sets the stage for Green Bay to take this game without much difficulty. However, taking a peek back at the 49ers' recent history against the Packers is quite informative at reevaluating this game. After throwing out last season's 34-17 blowout, due to the fact that the 49ers' best offensive weapon at the time was Richie James Jr., San Francisco has fared incredibly well against the Packers. The Niners blew out the Packers twice in 2019, with a fully healthy team, and lost by three points in a game against Green Bay in 2018, with a roster that went 4-12.

The explanation for this recent success against the NFC powerhouse Packers is the omnipotent 49ers backfield. Ever since 2018, the 49ers have had a stable full of solid running backs who shoved the ball down the field through Green Bay's lackluster run defense. Whether it was Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, or a plethora of others, San Francisco has always had an amazing answer for the Packers' defense. And now with the additions of RBs Trey Sermon, Elijah Mitchell, and Wayne Gallman, all of whom are solid players, the Niners backfield looks to be a stronger force than ever. Add to that the fact that the Packers' interior linebackers are weakening and this will be the Niners' first game at home with a heavy home-field advantage, and the team has a strong recipe for success.

This may not be a 2019-like blowout win for the Niners, but this game looks to be a sleeper victory for San Fransisco.

Week 4: Seattle Seahawks (Loss)

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks game is one that has the potential to go either way, but I expect a loss here for San Francisco for a couple of reasons. First, Seattle is always one of the most strong, robust teams in the early months of the season. Over the last two seasons, the Seahawks have a record of 10-2 in the first 6 weeks of the season. Seattle's offense looks to be as potent as ever with the improving wide receiver corps of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, the always consistent running back Chris Carson, and the addition of another underrated talented offensive piece in Gerald Everett. Pair them with an improved offensive line and the phenomenal play of Russell Wilson in the first half of the season, and it doesn't look too great for the Niners.

The usually stout 49ers defense has also not limited the Seahawks offense to fewer than 20 points in 6 seasons, and that doesn't project to change with a new and unproven defensive coordinator in DeMeco Ryans. The factors stack up for the usually red-hot Seahawks in this scenario and the Niners will likely take their first loss here.

However, one key to consider here as well as the remaining divisional matchups left on the schedule is the nature of playing someone within the same division. Most matchups go either way and are the most unpredictable games. While a loss here is more likely than not, take it with a grain of salt considering that the NFC West is the strongest division in the NFL by far and any matchup could go any way for any reason.

Week 5: Arizona Cardinals (Win)

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The second 49ers divisional game, which will be against the Arizona Cardinals, projects to go better for San Fransisco than their initial bout against the Seahawks. Following the Cardinals' first grueling game against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4, a similarly talented team in the 49ers will have its chance at putting up a battle against Arizona.

Opposing defenses usually have little to no success at stopping the brilliant duo of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. However, at the end of the 2020 campaign, former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh seemed to figure out a way to stop the strong-armed and shifty Murray. Both times last season the Niners were able to limit the usually powerful Cardinals offense to fewer than 25 points and the second time the defense forced Kyler Murray to throw for merely 247 passing yards with one turnover. Arizona's offense was incredibly stagnant throughout the game and had trouble pushing the ball down the field as there was usually a spy covering the opposing star quarterback, making his game one-dimensional.

San Francisco has even more incentive and motivation to win this game to conclude the first third of the season strong before its bye week. Even more, by Week 5, the offense likely has had enough time to return to full health and get acquainted with new pieces on the offensive line and at running back, making for a very effective and efficient offensive machine under coach Shanahan. Furthermore, the 49ers offense is usually at its strongest especially against Arizona, as showcased in 2019 when it led the team to a sweep of the season series.

However, the Cardinals can make this a close game with their emerging defense with pieces returning from injury, such as Chandler Jones, and the key additions of defensive lineman J.J. Watt and offensive pieces James Conner, A.J. Green, and underrated rookie Rondale Moore. Regardless, if the cards play right for the 49ers here, they should be able to pick up the win.

A little under one-third of the way through the season, the 49ers sit at 4-1, a very solid spot to be in before San Francisco goes into its bye week.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the predictions, which will be coming up soon.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • No Comments

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

Comparing Offensive Rosters: 2019 49ers vs. 2021 49ers

By Brian Renick
Jan 11

The San Francisco 49ers are heading back to the playoffs for the first time since their 2019 Super Bowl run after a thrilling Week 18 overtime victory against the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams. The 49ers were a 13-3 powerhouse in 2019, earning the #1 seed and a first-round bye, but this 2021 version, a 10-game winner and the 6th seed, may actually be better positioned to win it all than the 2019 squad. Let's compare the offensive position groups from each season to see who has the edge. Quarterback 2019 Jimmy Garoppolo 16 games, 329/476 69.1%, 3978 yds, 27 TDs and 13 INTs, 2.7 INT% Nick Mullens 2021 Jimmy Garoppolo 15 games,

49ers' Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel named to 2021 NFL All-Pro Team

By David Bonilla
Jan 14

Two San Francisco 49ers players were named to their first NFL All-Pro team. One is third-year wide receiver Deebo Samuel, one of the most dynamic players in the game. The second is the team's nine-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle, Trent Williams. Both were first-team selections. Until now, Williams, a first-round draft pick in 2010, has gone his entire career without being named to an All-Pro team, which may be difficult to believe. On Thursday, a reporter asked the veteran tackle what it would mean to finally be named an All-Pro. "I think it would feel good, finally," Williams responded. "It sucks because I can't let it define my career because I've never made it. If I felt like that's what I needed to define my career, then anything I've done up to

49ers RedZone: Breaking down 49ers vs. Rams

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Jan 11

The 49ers defeated the Rams 27-24 to get into the NFC Playoffs and will face off the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wildcard round on Sunday. Join Co-hosts Marco Martinez and Rohan Chakravarthi as they break down Sunday's matchup, including Jimmy Garoppolo's play, Ambry Thomas, the coaching staff and

The Risk and Reward of the 49ers Starting Trey Lance on Sunday

By Chris Beno
Jan 5

Last Sunday, rookie quarterback Trey Lance showed improvement since his first, and only start in Week 5. Lance completed 16 of 23 pass attempts for 249 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception—a very Jimmy Garoppolo-like stat line. After struggling to find an offensive rhythm early in the first half, Lance came out guns blazing in the second, spreading the ball all over the field, especially outside of the numbers, and targeting the deeper and intermediate routes on pass plays. Trey Lance brought a vertical element to the 49ers offense in his second career start.Lance averaged the most air


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone