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Bold Predictions for the 49ers’ Second Half

Brian Renick
Nov 10, 2022 at 9:00 AM

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I wrote a "10 Bold Predictions for the 2022 49ers" article prior to Week 1. You can find it here.

No need to read it though. Trust me. I crushed it. 10 for 10…

The 49ers are coming off their Week 9 bye and preparing to take on the San Diego…er…Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium in a Sunday Night Football matchup this week.

Since there is only half of the 2022 season remaining, I'm going to provide half the number of predictions.

Let's look into the crystal ball…

1. The 49ers are going to win the NFC West

I led off with this prediction prior to Week 1 and I'm sticking to it!

The 49ers underachieved in the first half of the season, losing two games they absolutely should have won against the Chicago Bears in Week 1 and the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6. The saving grace? They won the three division games they played in, including yet another sweep of the Los Angeles Rams.

The surprising Seattle Seahawks currently lead the NFC West with a record of 6-3, but the 49ers are one of those three losses. The Seahawks appear to be for real. Geno Smith is playing at an All-Pro level, their two rookie tackles are exceeding expectations, and their defense is young, aggressive, and has gotten better each week.

However, the Seahawks' second-half schedule is a little more difficult than the 49ers', including their Week 10 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all the way in Germany. They also have a late-season game against the Chiefs in Kansas City, a Thursday Night Football matchup against the 49ers, and a Week 17 matchup against the upstart New York Jets.

I think all of that adds up to a Wild Card berth for the Seahawks, with the 49ers taking the NFC West crown with a record of…

2. The 49ers will go 7-2 down the stretch and finish with a record of 11-6

This team has been too inconsistent to be truly confident in any prediction about their record, but this team has too much talent on the offensive side of the ball with the addition of Christian McCaffrey, and they are getting healthy as a team with a possible eleven players coming back from injury after the bye.

There are a few really tough games left on the schedule, the first being Week 10 against the Chargers. The team also faces the Bucs, Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins, and the aforementioned TNF game against the Seahawks in Seattle. However, six of the final nine games are in Santa Clara, and the furthest the team has to travel is to Mexico City to face the Cardinals on Monday Night Football in Week 11.

Kyle Shanahan's squad made it harder on themselves with their first-half performance, but they are still going to end up with the same record I predicted they would have prior to the season starting—though that is not in the "10 Bold Predictions" article.

3. Elijah Mitchell [Christian McCaffrey] will become the first 1,000-yard rusher in the Shanahan era

Just like I predicted in the previous article…

McCaffrey currently has 393 yards rushing on the season, meaning he needs only 607 yards over the remaining nine games to reach 1,000 yards. Barring injury, that doesn't seem that bold.

Let's get bolder then!

McCaffrey will have 1,000 yards rushing as a 49er.

CMC has 107 yards on the ground since coming over from Carolina, meaning he needs 893 yards over the final nine games (99 yards/gm) to reach the mark. Elijah Mitchell is likely to return to action as soon as this week against the Chargers, which could lessen the load on McCaffrey, but based on his usage against the Rams in Week 8, I have a feeling Kyle Shanahan is going to build the whole plane out of McCaffrey.

The real question: could we see CMC with another 1,000/1,000 season?

4. Jimmy Garoppolo will have the lowest interception percentage of his career

Garoppolo is quietly having the best statistical season of his career. His lowest interception percentage over the course of a full season is currently 2.7%, which he posted in 2019 and 2021. Through Week 8, Garoppolo has thrown 11 TDs to just 4 INTs, for a TD:INT ratio of 2.75:1 (by far the best mark of his career) and an INT% of 1.9%.

However, this prediction has more to do with Christian McCaffrey than Jimmy Garoppolo. McCaffrey is the first true difference-maker Garoppolo has played with as an outlet. Jimmy's seeming allergy to throwing the ball away has been well-documented, but now he has a player that he can confidently check down to for positive yardage. Perhaps, with McCaffrey as a security blanket, Garoppolo will be less inclined to force throws into tight coverage in the middle of the field, which is where the majority of his turnovers occur. If that is the case, Garoppolo could end the season with less than double-digit interceptions for the first time in his career when starting more than six games.

5. The 49ers will win the NFC

The NFC has proven to be an absolute dumpster fire this season. Perennial contenders like Tampa Bay, Green Bay, and the LA Rams have been pretty abysmal in 2022, leaving the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles as the frontrunner in the NFC.

I don't want to take away anything from what the Eagles have accomplished this season, but they do not have the same postseason experience as a battle-tested 49ers team.

The 49ers are built to win in January: a dominant running game, a relentless defensive line and pass rush, and an experienced postseason play-caller (no, we are not going to discuss Kyle Shanahan's postseason résumé here).

The AFC is chock full of teams that could represent the conference in the Super Bowl, so I'm not going to try and predict who the 49ers will face or whether they will win or not. Sorry, not sorry.

But hey, rejoice!

The 49ers will be back in the Super Bowl, and George Kittle will be playing in it with a MFing VENGEANCE!
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.
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1 Comment

  • Joi44
    After the first article you should have just stopped predicting things. Jinxing the squad
    Nov 10, 2022 at 12:52 PM
    Response: Touché!


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