San Francisco 49ers
Projected record: 2–14
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch got six-year contracts because it’s clear turning around this franchise is going to take some time. Lynch knocked his first draft move out of the park when he robbed Chicago of picks to trade down one spot and still get his guy (and then get Reuben Foster later). What concerns me the most about this team before the season starts is that Shanahan will be the offensive play-caller and head coach in his first year at the helm. That’s a lot of responsibility for a rookie.
Pivotal game: Week 12 vs. Seahawks. I highly doubt the 49ers will find many wins in the first half of the season, so staying competitive in some of those early games would be more pivotal in reality than for our purposes. How the team responds to its Week 11 bye and the ensuing game against the Seahawks could be more revealing. Is this a team that will be energized heading into December with things to build on, or are they going to lie down?