The 49ers finished last season with a 6-10 record. However, most fans will point out that it ended with five consecutive victories.
A mid-season trade for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sparked the team and San Francisco put up some impressive wins, including three over playoff teams (Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans).
Garoppolo has never lost as a starter, and his 7-0 record includes two wins with the New England Patriots.
So will the 49ers go 16-0 in the regular season? According to several national publications, don’t count on it. One analyst predicts the 49ers will lose their opener at the Minnesota Vikings.
Overall, San Francisco is expected to average nine wins, according to this roundup. Here’s a look at how some media outlets think the 49ers will fare:
Analysis: Nick Wagoner thinks the team has a favorable path this season. “The 49ers have plenty of buzz after their 5-0 finish to last season but that also leaves them with much to prove as expectations soar. Still, the Niners have what looks like a manageable schedule and one that is particularly team-friendly on the back end.”
Analysis: Jonathan Jones has San Francisco getting double-digit victories, but warns that it might not be enough. “No team that missed the playoffs last year should feel as good about its odds in 2018 as the 49ers. ... They added Richard Sherman, Weston Richburg, Jerrick McKinnon and Mike McGlinchey after losing Carlos Hyde and Aaron Lynch. I’d say the 49ers got better there. A 10-win season would be San Francisco’s best since 2013, but I don’t see 10 wins (or even 11) getting you a playoff spot in this year’s NFC.”
Analysis: Vinnie Iyer thinks 10 victories is more than attainable. “Can a full season of Garoppolo and Richard Sherman make that much of a difference? A four-win improvement doesn’t seem like a stretch as the 49ers go into 2018 knowing they have never lost a game with their starting QB. Offensively, Pierre Garcon, Jerick McKinnon and George Kittle will be huge boons to Jimmy G behind a smoother offensive line. After a little delay defensively, Reuben Foster, Solomon Thomas, Ahkello Withersppon, Jaquiski Tartt and others will come together with Sherman leading and Robert Saleh scheming.”
Analysis: Pete Prisco doesn’t offer detailed analysis on the 49ers. Instead, he predicts the score of each game of the season — and expects some backlash. “Picking every NFL game with scores in July is just asking for it. But I can’t help myself. ... It’s a labor of love. With it, though, comes the hate. I can hear it now: Moron. Idiot. How did you get your job? Do you even watch the games? ... And here’s what I say to that: Who cares? Bring it on. It’s part of the fun of doing this project. I love to pick games – even in July. So dive in, look around, and let the venom flow.”
Analysis: Nate Davis says to expect Garoppolo’s unblemished record to go away early. “We know — they’ll probably go 19-0 given Jimmy Garoppolo’s perfect NFL ledger. Bold Prediction Number 1: That streak ends Week 1 in Minnesota. The Niners are definitely on the road to relevance, but a challenging schedule that winds through the AFC West and NFC North suggests they’re not quite ready for a postseason return.”
Analysis: Brent Sobleski points out why the 49er faithful are excited. “A five-game winning streak to end the previous season would have any team excited, but the 49ers must be especially exuberant this offseason since they now have their franchise quarterback signed to a long-term deal. While San Francisco’s roster still has holes, Jimmy Garoppolo’s presence in the lineup makes everything else better.”