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USA TODAY predicts the 49ers to win NFC West

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It’s not too far-fetched

San Francisco 49ers versus Seattle Seahawks Photo by Nhat V. Meyer/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Fans from everywhere will get very upset when their favorite team isn’t picked to win the division, or if they are selected to finish worse than their rivals. Our pals over at Turf Show Times weren’t too happy about USA TODAY picking them to miss the playoffs. Anything can happen. Jared Goff might have to perform at a competent level for 16 games!

Last season, the Minnesota Vikings were believed to be a lock to make the NFC Championship. The Jacksonville Jaguars were going to ride their defense to the playoffs. Neither of these things happened. It never goes as planned in the NFL.

Nate Davis, of USA TODAY, put out his season predictions for 2019. He has the San Francisco 49ers winning the NFC West at 10-6.

I love when people at least attempt to think outside of the box. Will the Texans finish Last? Do the Chargers win the Super Bowl? Mitch Trubisky win 11 games? Probably not. It still creates a fun discussion.

As far as the Niners division, the Seahawks just lost Jarran Reed—the anchor up the middle of that defense—for six games. Even if it costs Seattle a game, that will be impactful to the final standings. The Seahawks seem to lose someone vital to their teams’ success by the month.

The Cardinals are the Cardinals. A successful year for them would be five wins.

Rams won a bunch of games in 2018, but they also went 6-1 in one-possession games. Good luck repeating that. I don’t think anyone would argue that they are the class of the division, but there’s not this feeling of invincibility, either.

It’s plausible for the 49ers to win the division. Jimmy Garoppolo performs like a Tier 2 quarterback, at worst, the duo of Dante Pettis and George Kittle are too much for defenses to contain, and the offense plays with the lead to the point where the pass rush can pin their ears back and relentlessly pressure the quarterback. That’s the recipe for success, and likely the reason San Francisco will be division champs. A ball-dominating offense that puts up points and a fast-flowing defense that creates havoc and gets timely stops.