Various-USA TODAY Sports

Various-USA TODAY Sports


Round Table: Predicting the 49ers’ record and place in the NFC West standings

Sep 8, 2020 at 1:45 PM0


The San Francisco 49ers are preparing to begin an unprecedented 2020 campaign. It could be very unpredictable as the team, along with 31 other NFL squads, navigates a season impacted by COVID-19.

San Francisco is coming off a devastating Super Bowl defeat and has its sights set on returning to and winning the big game. First, it will need to win the NFC West and fight for playoff position in a reworked format that will feature only one team per conference with a bye week.

We asked the 49ers Webzone staff to predict the Niners' final regular-season record and placement in the NFC West standings. Below are the responses in the order in which they were received.

Sterling Bennett
Record: 12-4
Note: First place in the NFC West, second to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC

The 49ers are the archetype for a team that finishes with a worse record but ends up as champion. With that said, everybody around them improved. Expected splits with Arizona and Seattle, on top of the NFL's fouth-toughest schedule (.527), make the Niners' Revenge Tour more challenging than it should already be. But with Shanahan and Garoppolo running the show, the NFL should prepare itself for something LEGENDARY in 2020. -- Sterling Bennett

Kirk Larrabee
Record: 11-5
Note: First place in the NFC West

I don't think the 49ers will earn home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs this year, and I also think they'll be in a dogfight for the NFC West title until the very end. But overall, the pieces that remain in place, along with the experience this team gained last year is reason to expect there won't be much (if any) dropoff this season. I wish the roster was healthier heading into the season opener, but the first part of the schedule shapes up in a way that should allow the 49ers to stack some wins even with those few lingering health issues. I look for two, maybe even three losses to come from within the NFC West, along with a couple more from the road games at New England, New Orleans, and Dallas. Then we'll see how healthy the team is once the playoffs arrive, but assuming they're not too beat up, they'll be on the short list of prime contenders to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LV. -- Kirk Larrabee

David Bonilla
Record: 11-5
Note: First place in the NFC West

A worse record than a year ago is saying more about the improved competition in the NFC West than some sort of drop-off by the 49ers. I still expect them to emerge as division champions and compete for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Right now, many "experts" have the Saints as the favorite, and I genuinely expect the Drew Brees-led squad to challenge San Francisco every step of the way as each team races to the finish line. That will make the November 15 matchup in New Orleans just as important as it was last season. -- David Bonilla

Jason Aponte
Record: 12-4
Note: First place in the NFC West

I see the 49ers winning the NFC West in another Week 17 showdown with Seattle. The additions of Trent Williams, Brandon Aiyuk, Jordan Reed, and Jerick McKinnon to this offense mean this team is set to win shootouts, if necessary. The loss of DeForest Buckner means this defense takes a step back talent-wise, but the 49ers intend to use a group approach to replacing his production. It's not fair to expect the same defense from 2019, but it's close. -- Jason Aponte

Brian Renick
Record: 12-4
Note: First place in the NFC West

There are some tough stretches in this schedule, especially Weeks 6 through 13. The team will ultimately lose at Seattle, at New Orleans, and at Dallas. The final loss will come to Seattle again, in Week 17, with the division already wrapped up and Seattle playing for a playoff spot. -- Brian Renick

Allan McBride
Record: 12-4
Note: First place in the NFC West

Repeating the success from 2019 will be extremely difficult. However, I believe Kyle Shanahan will have this team prepared to go on another Super Bowl run in 2020. -- Allan McBride

Sasha D. Robinson
Record: 12-4
Note: First place in the NFC West

I fought with this all summer because I originally had the Seattle Seahawks winning the division, and the Niners getting a Wildcard berth, but Jadeveon Clowney decided to sign with the Tennessee Titans. The defending NFC Champs will miss wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in the passing game. Still, their offense should be more electric with running back Jerick McKinnon coming off injured reserve and rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk. The Cardinals, Seahawks, and Rams have offensive weapons but are the lines good enough to stop one of the top defenses in the league? While the Niners' pass defense will be business as usual, my concern is with the secondary. In three of the last four games, including the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs, San Francisco's secondary was exposed in the fourth quarter. This could possibly be the weakest unit on the team. -- Sasha D. Robinson

Bret Rumbeck
Record: 12-4
Note: First place in the NFC West

The 49ers enter this season with the best defense in professional football. And despite the loss of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, it's hard to fathom a massive drop in play from this unit. I'm concerned that it will take the offense a few weeks to grind out the rust, especially in the intermediate and deep passing game. But the 49ers will finish first in the NFC West, earning a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs. -- Bret Rumbeck

Gilbert Brink
Record: 11-5
Note: First place in the NFC West

San Francisco will be one of the better teams in the NFC again in 2020. The defense will regress, and the offense will carry the team in 2020 with Jimmy Garoppolo becoming a top-five quarterback and a true game-changer. -- Gilbert Brink

Matthew Barr
Record: 12-4
Note: First place in the NFC West

Kyle Shanahan and company look to stave off the dreaded Super Bowl hangover that seems to claim a victim each year. The NFC West may be the toughest division in football. However, the 49ers own the best overall roster and above-average coaching, which keeps them on top for a second straight season. Jimmy Garoppolo takes a step forward but still finds himself on the outside looking in on the elite quarterbacks tier. The defense rides the strength of the front seven to produce similar success as 2019 with Nick Bosa propelling himself into the upper echelon of defenders. -- Matthew Barr

Chris Wilson
Record: 11-5
Note: First place in the NFC West

If the 49ers plan on finally completing their "Quest for Six" with a victory in Super Bowl LV, they'll have to win one additional playoff game for the opportunity. The Super Bowl hangover is real, but this 2020 Niners squad has the hunger and talent to overcome it — although it won't be easy, as their opponents will be gunning for the reigning NFC champs. Expect a bumpier road this season, particularly in the strong NFC West. However, the playoff-bound Niners are clearly the best of the bunch, and will have their eyes set on the ultimate prize in what should be a difficult postseason run. -- Chris Wilson

Matt Andruscavage
Record: 13-3
Note: First place in the NFC West

The 49ers will play better than last season but lose a game they shouldn't in the first seven. While they win again in Seattle, they will lose in New Orleans, rebound well, but lose one of the final two games. -- Matt Andruscavage
The views 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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