49ers 2020 Predictions
It’s been eight long months without football. Our award for being able to make it through the slog that has so far been 2020 will be turning on our televisions Sunday and watching the 49ers open their campaign at home against Arizona. With the rosters set and the season upon us, let’s take a look at a few predictions for the upcoming season.
1. Jimmy Garoppolo will be in the MVP race
Many expect a bump for Garoppolo as he enters his second full season as the starting quarterback under Kyle Shanahan. This expectation comes from the second year bump that Matt Ryan had in 2016. But here’s the rub on that line of thinking: looking back, Garoppolo’s first full season in 2019 he was actually ahead of Ryan. In 2019 Garoppolo put up a better completion percentage, touchdown percentage and yards per attempt than Ryan in 2015.
Garoppolo comes into 2020 with his best set of weapons. In addition to All-Pro tight end George Kittle, Garoppolo will have Deebo Samuel with a year of experience, Jerick McKinnon running routes out of the backfield, and Trent Taylor back from injury to go along with rookie Brandon Aiyuk who had an outstanding camp.
Look for Garoppolo to put something in the neighborhood of 4,300 yards with 34 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
2. Dee Ford will be the 49ers sacks leader
Ford has been plagued by injuries throughout the first six years of his career and, if his past pattern continues, the 49ers pass rusher is on the verge of a terrific season. It wasn’t until his third season with the Chiefs in 2016 that Ford was on the field for more than 50 percent of the defensive snaps, and the result was 10 sacks.
He followed that up with an injury-plagued 2017 season before playing the most snaps of his career in 2018 which led to 13 sacks. The injury bug bit Ford again during his first season as a 49er in 2019 which limited him to only 226 snaps. Ford was able to put up six and a half sacks last season despite playing the second fewest snaps of his career.
Look for Ford to finish the 2020 season as the 49ers sacks leader with 15.
3. 49ers will make the playoffs as a wildcard
The past 10 years, the team that has lost the Super Bowl has come back and made the playoffs eight times with only three of those able to win their division, two of which were the Patriots. The 49ers will continue this trend.
The NFL schedule makers did the 49ers few favors in 2020. The 49ers have back-to-back games in New York in Weeks 2 and 3 which will result in a split. The next rough stretch is the same one that cost them the division in 2013, at New England followed by a trip to Seattle the following week. This will be another split for the 49ers. The other three losses for the 49ers will come in the middle of November in New Orleans, at home against Buffalo early in December and on the road in Dallas a few days before Christmas.
Look for the 49ers to finish second in the NFC West with a record of 11-5. The road is easier for Seattle who, despite splitting their season series with San Francisco, will win the division and the top seed in the NFC with a record of 13-3.