The San Francisco 49ers will hold their rookie minicamp this weekend. It remains to be seen how much their eight draft picks will contribute during the 2021 season, but the Niners already have a roster capable of challenging for a Super Bowl.
Pass-rushing demon Nick Bosa is healthy and should be ready to go when training camp rolls around in the summer. Along with Bosa, George Kittle, Trent Williams and Fred Warner give San Francisco a nucleus of All-Pro caliber players.
Health was the No. 1 reason why the 49ers sputtered to a 6-10 record in 2020. The team was without Bosa, Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel and Richard Sherman for long stretches last season, which killed any hope of a return trip to the Super Bowl following the heartbreaking loss in the 2019 season finale.
General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have had a busy offseason. The Niners traded up to No. 3 to select North Dakota State QB Trey Lance and also added veteran center Alex Mack and pass-rusher Samson Ebukam in free agency.
Oddsmakers like what the Niners have done leading up to next season. FanDuel released its latest over/under win totals for the 2021 campaign and have San Francisco at 10.5, tied with the Los Angeles Rams for the highest projection in the NFC West.
Here is how oddsmakers set the totals for the NFC West squads, per FanDuel:
Seattle Seahawks (10)
Arizona Cardinals (8)
FanDuel has Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs over/under at 12.5, the highest of any NFL team. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are next at 11.5, while the Baltimore Ravens come in at 11.
San Francisco, L.A. and Seattle are the only three NFC teams other than Tampa Bay, whose over/under is in double digits.
The NFC West is going to be a dog fight again next season. With a 17th game added to the schedule, the 49ers will likely have to win 11 games or more to have a chance at claiming the division.
According to the projected win totals set by oddsmakers, San Francisco has the easiest strength of schedule in 2021. The Niners have the benefit of playing a last-place schedule after finishing in the basement of the division last year.
The NFL will release the official 2021 schedule on Wednesday, but we already know who will be the 49ers’ opponents:
Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons.
Away: Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals.
Although nothing is guaranteed in the NFL, San Francisco has some tasty matchups against rebuilding teams like the Jaguars, Texans, Eagles, Lions, and Bears.
The biggest factor for the Niners next season will be health. Football Outsiders did a great job of breaking down the injuries for all teams in 2020, and the data shows the 49ers were far and away the leaders when it comes to adjusted games lost. San Francisco’s players missed 161.6 games to injuries, plus five more related to COVID-19. The Niners’ total adjusted games lost is the second-most over the past 20 NFL seasons. Only the 2016 Chicago Bears had a higher total than San Francisco, with 171.6.
If the 49ers will have the likes of Bosa, Kittle, Warner, Williams and Samuel available for most-or-all of their games next season, they should find themselves contending for a championship.
San Francisco can still add some cheap veterans through free agency. The team has a little more than $18 million in cap space before signing their incoming rookies. A player like Richard Sherman, Golden Tate or Melvin Ingram will certainly add some quality depth to the roster if the Niners can land one of them on the open market.
How many wins will the 49ers finish with next season?
This poll is closed
12 or more
8 or fewer