Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Frelund’s simulations project 10 wins, NFC West crown for 49ers, at least 6 TDs for George Kittle

Sep 6, 2021 at 2:42 PM--


It's worth noting that NFL Network analyst Cynthia Frelund actually projects 10.1 wins for the San Francisco 49ers, but I didn't need a bunch of social media posts asking what 0.1 of a win is without bothering to read this. Frelund ran her most simulations to date, a whopping 300,000 that included every regular-season game. That's a total of 81.6 million simulated games. She then took her data and vetted it with several experts to determine the projected win total for each team in 2021 based on those simulations.

The San Francisco 49ers ended up with the third-most projected win average in the NFC, with only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12.5) and the Green Bay Packers (10.5) coming in higher.

However, there is also a ceiling of 11.9 wins based on the simulations—a best-case scenario, if you will. The floor for the team is 6.9 wins. Why the significant margin? It could mean the 49ers are projected to be involved in several close games in 2021. It could also mean their season projection is very dependent on a healthier campaign than last year when San Francisco suffered a historic number of injuries.

The 10.1-game win total tops the Los Angeles Rams (9.9), Arizona Cardinals (9.1), and Seattle Seahawks (8.6), making the Niners the favorite to win the NFC West in Frelund's projections. She has the Seahawks as the lone NFC West team missing the playoffs.

"Yep, with a clean bill of health in San Francisco, this is my model's selection for the team that goes from worst to first," wrote Frelund before making a prediction for one of the Niners' biggest stars.

George Kittle is already in the conversation as the NFL's best tight end. He has twice surpassed 1,000 yards receiving and might have done so again last season had he not missed eight games. Despite being an important part of the offense, Kittle has never scored more than five touchdowns in a single season.

"George Kittle projects to reach the end zone at least six times in a whopping 59.8 percent of simulations," Frelund wrote, with "at least" being the key phrase there.

That's good news for the 49ers, who hope to create a threatening receiving trio in Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel.

Unfortunately, Frelund doesn't touch on how the 49ers' quarterback situation might turn out, but you have to imagine her simulations are based on Jimmy Garoppolo staying healthy and remaining the starter for the year, as they are unlikely to account for a mid-season quarterback switch to Trey Lance.





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