Last year, NFL Network’s Adam Rank made an infamous prediction that the San Francisco 49ers would go 3-13, and fans didn’t let him live it down all year. I thought it was excessive because the hate carried on into December. These guys make a ton of predictions, and you’re going to be wrong. It’s not that big of a deal.
Rank is back to make a 2020 season prediction, and he’s a lot more confident in the Niners this year. He has the 49ers finishing 12-4. Rank went game-by-game and gave a quick analysis for each one. Let’s go through his predictions.
Game 1: Win over Arizona - “Everyone thinks the Cardinals won the offseason, but there’s no way the 49ers lose if everyone is healthy.”
Games 2 & 3 on the east coast against New York: Wins over the Jets and Giants- “There is a possibility that the 49ers fall into a trap against one of these two teams. The Jets could be good. The Giants could be good. But I’m not going to predict either of these teams to beat the 49ers.
Game 4: Loss to the Eagles - “You might be a better team than the Eagles. The thing is, the back-to-back games, the situation of the schedule, I’m going to have the Eagles winning this one. I think the Eagles are very close to the 49ers in terms of talent. I think they’re both very good teams, but playing back-to-back games on the road is a huge ask for me. So I’m going to say the 49ers drop that one.”
We have the first loss on the schedule a month into the season. Rank’s train of thought checks out as it’s easy to understand the team being mentally and physically drained after a two-week road trip, even with staying on the east coast. I don’t agree that Philly is “very close” talented wise, but they’re certainly a good team that will challenge this season. It’s all about which Carson Wentz shows up.
Rank predicted San Francisco would handle the next two games against the Dolphins and Rams at home relatively easy. So we’re 5-1 heading into Week 7, and Rank has the 49ers winning in Jimmy Garoppolo’s revenge game to go 6-1. Now it’s time for a trip to Seattle.
Game 8: Loss at Seattle - “You’re on the road, at Seattle. You won in Seattle last year to close out the season. The thing is, coming off the road, playing in an emotional game, especially for Garoppolo, even though he may not admit it. I think Seattle gets you in a little bit of a trap game there.”
I don’t think anyone would be surprised if the Niners dropped a game on the road to Seattle, but it won’t be because of a “trap” game.
Rank continued with the schedule and referenced how the 49ers embarrassed the Packers so bad last year that they made Green Bay draft Aaron Rodgers’ replacement. That takes us to Week 10 and a trip to NOLA.
Game 10: Loss at New Orleans - “Last year, one of the most exciting games of the season, but I do believe the Saints are going to be ready for you this time, and I have the Saints winning this one.”
I predicted a loss to the Saints as well. I think the two teams will meet again in the playoffs, and New Orleans will have a tough time winning on the road when it matters.
Rank continued and predicted wins against the Rams, Bills said Washington has potential to be a trap game but acknowledge Kyle Shanahan is not going to lose to Washington, and that takes us to Week 15.
Game 15: Loss to the Cowboys - Again, these are two evenly matched teams. Last year, the Cowboys, the top-ranked offense, and a top-10 defense. I think this is going to be a great matchup and the game of the season. I have the Cowboys winning this one. No disrespect. I think the 49ers are going to end up being 5-3 on the road. When you’re the team that everyone is looking for now, this is a different situation now. Last year, you were able to fly under the radar a little bit.
Rank has a legitimate point about getting every team’s best shot. He had the team winning the final two games, finishing 12-4.
Rank said the 49ers would be better in 2020 despite their record and compared this year’s version to last year’s Chiefs. “Two years ago, No. 1 seed, got knocked off in AFC Championship and then went out and won the Super Bowl.” Rank mentioned how it could be beneficial for the 49ers to fly under the radar and not be the top team in the conference all year.