Who doesn't love a good predictions post? While some may argue it's a bit soon to be making numerical predictions, I argue there's no better time than the present. After all, San Francisco is a game deep into its preseason with the regular season creeping closer and closer as each day passes. Injuries can ruin any prediction, but so can an unexpected player coming out of nowhere. We've already seen some injuries occur, and we'll (unfortunately) likely see a few more. In other words, there's no better time than now to begin making bold-faced predictions (especially if one prediction includes the rise of a player like a phoenix from the ashes, see: Brooks, Ahmad). Before I begin, I encourage Niners Nation to participate by making a few bold-faced predictions of their own, instead of just ripping my to shreds.
Bold-Faced Prediction #1
The San Francisco 49ers will win the NFC West. The team will win 10 games, and finish 5-1 in division play. Unfortunately, Darryl Ducket (Darnell Dockett) and the Arizona Cardinals will beat San Francisco 20-17 on Monday, November 29. While it will look like all but certain doom at the time, the 49ers will win 4 of its next 5 games. That includes the division clinching finale against the Cardinals in week 17, ending Arizona's reign as NFC West Champs. The 4-4 start to the season won't be much to have worried about after all. With a divison title, the 49ers will host an NFC playoff game in January.
Bold-Faced Prediction #2
San Francisco safety Dashon Goldson will play himself into a huge mega-contract, and serious consideration for Defensive Player of the Year. Goldson's tackling will be improved from a season ago (missing fewer), and he'll anchor the 49ers secondary. Despite the rare occurance that Goldson's combination of 3 Forced Fumbles and 3 INTs in 2009 were, he'll match the forced fumbles total and surpass his interception total. Draft Goldson in your fantasy IDP leagues, he'll finish with 90 tackles, 6 INTs, 3 FF, 1 DEF TD and 9 Passes Defended.
Get on the diving board and make the jump to see the rest of my bold-faced predictions...
Bold-Faced Prediction #3
Brian Westbrook will start as many games as Anthony Dixon in 2010, zero. That's right, Frank Gore will play in and start all 16 games this season. However, Gore will not set a career high in rushing attempts, receptions or total yardage. With a healthy stable of backs ready to spell Gore in game situations, not just when Gore gets hurt, the 49ers will keep the Tank healthy all season long. Gore will still get his touches (carries+receptions), about 280 in total, and average a career best 6.5 yards per touch (correct mathematicians, that's 1820 total yards). That will leave around 125 touches for Westbrook and Dixon to split between each other, with perhaps the fullback stealing a few here or there. The 49ers will boast a top 10 rushing attack in 2010.
Bold-Faced Prediction #4
We'll all have reason to party, when Mike Iupati makes the NFC's Pro Bowl roster as Steve Hutchinson's reserve. David Baas will have to start more games than we expect at center, as Eric Heitmann will take longer to recover from his injury than anticipated. Baas will be more than adequate in Heitmann's absence, but when Heitmann finally returns against Denver in London, the 49ers will set a single game franchise rushing record. Stangely enough, Frank Gore will not top 200 yards rushing in the game. In other OL predictions, Joe Staley will start all 16 games, Adam Snyder will be a reliable back-up and Anthony Davis' rookies woes will disappear the same time Eric Heitmann returns. As a result, the 49ers will allow less than 31 sacks in 2010.
Bold-Faced Prediction #5
Ahmad Brooks will recover from his lacerated kidney and lacerate opposing quarterbacks in 2010 more often than any other 49ers pass rusher. The best part? He'll do it all as Manny Lawson's back-up, allowing the team to keep Lawson's excellent coverage skills on the field when necessary, but rely on Brooks' pass rushing ability when need be. Diyral Biggs will be San Francisco's 8th and final linebacker, beating out Travis LaBoy and Bruce Davis. We won't see many changes in the team's DL, as Justin Smith's motor will never shut off, and Aubrayo Franklin will remain an anchor in the middle (he'll sign his tender following San Francisco's preseason game this Sunday). Much like in 2009, the 49ers will boast a top 4 sack total, and the front seven will again have San Francisco hovering around as one of the top rushing defenses in the league.
Bold-Faced Prediction #6
With Brandon Jones cut, and Jason Hill failing to live up to expectations, the 49ers will keep just five wide receivers on the roster and that will include Dominique Zeigler. Sadly, not a single 49er player will reach 1,000 yards receiving, but both VD and Crabs will put up 900 apiece. By the way, Vernon Davis will put up another double-digit TD performance (11) and Michael Crabtree won't be too far behind with 7. That means Alex Smith will match his 2009 passing TD total with those two options alone. I'll go as far to say that the 49ers will add at least 8 more receiving TDs, bringing the team's 2010 total to 26. Will Alex Smith throw all 26 of those TD passes? No. Thanks to Jimmy Raye's new found creativity, we'll see Ted Ginn throw a TD pass on a gadget play in week 15 against San Diego.
Well Niners Nation, that wraps up my bold-faced predictions for now. Hopefully you can understand that while I hope these predictions come true, for the most part I wanted to have a little fun with it. Yes, the team will win 10 games and capture the NFC crown, but I can't guarantee everything else will pan out the way I've predicted it. Only Ninjames has a time machine (he gave David Carr his helmet), and he doesn't even email me in present day, let alone from the future. Go ahead and make your own bold-faced predictions, and you don't even have to drink a big glass of kool-aid like I did.