Here we go! The 2020 NFL season officially kicks off on Thursday, while the San Francisco 49ers will begin their quest for a sixth Super Bowl title on Sunday when they host the Arizona Cardinals.
The Niners are the betting favorites to win the NFC, but one longtime columnist thinks they won’t capture a second consecutive NFC West crown. NBC’s Peter King released his predictions for the upcoming season and has the Seattle Seahawks edging out the 49ers.
“San Francisco, up by two scores with eight minutes left in the Super Bowl and with so many key guys returning, is a logical pick, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Niners went 12-4 and steamed to the top seed. I’m picking Seattle to edge the Niners in the division. It’s overly simplistic to say it’s a referendum on the quarterbacks, but that has much to do with it. I trust Russell Wilson over Jimmy Garoppolo.”
King predicts San Francisco will finish as the No. 5 seed in the NFC and take on the Minnesota Vikings on Wild Card Weekend. He went with the New Orleans Saints to edge out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the conference title game.
Seattle and San Francisco played two close contests last season. The first matchup came in Week 10 when the Seahawks gave the Niners their first loss of the year in a 27-24 overtime game. 49ers’ kicker Robbie Gould missed the contest with an injured quad, and rookie Chase McLaughlin was signed to take his place. McLaughlin shanked a field goal attempt in overtime, which led to a game-winning kick by Seattle’s Jason Myers.
We all remember what happened in Week 17. San Francisco finally got a win in Seattle when linebacker Dre Greenlaw stopped Seahawks’ tight end Jacob Hollister on the goal line to give the 49ers a 26-21 victory, which clinched the NFC West title and the No. 1 seed in the conference.
Russell Wilson is a better quarterback than Jimmy Garoppolo going into the 2020 season, but I don’t think that is the deciding factor between them. The Niners’ have a much better pass rush than the Seahawks, and while San Francisco’s offensive line has some question marks, it is still far superior to the unit Seattle will be trotting out.
If last year is any indication, the two heated rivals should be neck-and-neck again for the divisional crown. The 49ers and Seahawks will play each other Week 8 in Seattle, and the season finale takes place at Levi’s Stadium in Week 17, which could very well decide who wins the NFC West.
What do you think each teams’ record will be during the regular season?