We’re near the halfway point for the 49ers, so let’s reassess some record predictions. Before the start of the season, everyone was confident this team’s floor was nine wins, even with a first-year starting quarterback. It wouldn’t be a 49er season if there weren’t unexpected results.
Nobody saw Trey Lance going down after a game and a half. Not one person had Christian McCaffrey on their radar as an in-season trade candidate. Yet, here we are, heading into Week 10, and you could come up with a laundry list of “no way” moments on this team.
The remaining schedule for the Niners looks favorable. The Chargers are above .500 but are the most injured team in the NFL. The Cardinals and Saints sit at 3-6, and those are the next two opponents on the schedule.
The three-game stretch following the Saints game will tell us if the defense is legitimate and if the offense can put pressure on the opponent. Mike McDaniel has the Dolphins at 6-3, Tom Brady won’t be 4-5 a month from now, and the NFC West-leading Seahawks game could be for all the marbles in primetime.
Here are our record predictions:
I want to believe the 49ers will carry the momentum from their resounding win against the Rams forward out of the bye week, but that’s more based on hope than what I’ve seen this season. The Niners should be healthier than they’ve been in a while coming out of the bye, and they have one of the easiest remaining schedules, particularly in terms of travel.
The Niners have always struggled with consistency under Kyle Shanahan, often losing games to inferior teams. I do think the 49ers find a way to sneak into the playoffs in a wildly mediocre NFC, but I think Jimmy Garoppolo will regress from his recent hot streak, which will keep the team from putting together a prolonged winning streak.
Admittedly, I’m going more with my heart than my head here. The truth of the matter is that this team matches up really well with the Rams but is not great against many other teams. Even if you start with 2019, the 49ers are 8-0 against the Rams in the regular season and just 25-24 against everyone else. Ultimately I think they’ll lose to the Cardinals in Mexico City, the Dolphins at home, and the Seahawks in Seattle, which would put them at 9-7 going into the final game of the season against Arizona. With their backs against the wall, once again, and the home crowd behind them, I can see the Niners gutting out a victory in Week 18 to sneak into the playoffs, especially since Arizona will be in DGAF mode by that time.
Tampa Bay: Loss
The NFL proves each week that it’s unpredictable. Just this past week, the Jets beat the Bills, and the Titans flirted with the idea of upsetting the Chiefs off a bye at home. The Chargers won’t present a problem for the 49ers, but the Cardinals game feels like a letdown spot with the travel to Mexico City and the extra activity surrounding the game.
Expect the team to get right the next two weeks, only to fall to a Bucs team that’ll be peaking. Losing to the Raiders doesn’t make any sense which is why I picked it. I could see the 49ers clinching a playoff spot that week and still losing before finishing the season on a high note with a home victory against Arizona.