NFL training camps get going in a little over four weeks for most NFL teams, and that means we have a little bit of down time remaining. With some time to play around, Pro Football Focus decided to put together their first set of record projections for 2017. They don’t really explain their process in great detail, but it says they project the quality of each team and then use those projections to predict the outcome of all 256 regular season games.
Whatever the process, it is not surprising they have the San Francisco 49ers projected near the bottom of the league. PFF has them with a 4-12 record, joining the Los Angeles Rams. They actually list the Rams as No. 16 in the conference, suggesting a slightly worse team (or simply an issue of alphabetizing the names).
Here’s what PFF said about the 49ers.
The 49ers had the worst record in the NFC last year. They’ve changed coaches, quarterbacks, and several players. There is reason to be excited about their defensive line. 2015 first-round pick Arik Armstead led 3-4 defensive ends in pass-rushing productivity; 2016 first-round pick DeForest Buckner had 48 pressures which was fourth most for 3-4 defensive ends; and now they add third overall pick in the 2017 draft Solomon Thomas. They are a team in transition, and it might take more than a season for the 49ers return to being a playoff contender.
It’s the usual analysis about the state of the 49ers. The defensive line could prove to be the deepest unit, and the 49ers are in the midst of a roster overhaul. It’s all basic fact at this point.
PFF has the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks both finishing at 10-6 and making the playoffs. The Cardinals are coming off a rough 2016, which followed a playoff run in 2015. PFF thinks winning more close games will get them on the right side of .500, but then says, “if Carson Palmer or Tyrann Mathieu is able to return to their 2015 form, Arizona should find their way back into the playoffs.” The “or” in there is an interesting choice. Palmer could bounce back, but I’m not exactly super confident that will happen. Personally, I see another Cardinals stumble as the window for some big run is closing quick in my eyes.