The San Francisco 49ers drafted quarterback Trey Lance after trading up to get the No. 3 pick from the Miami Dolphins. Lance is expected to be the backup for starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

In the offseason, the Niners lost former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Saleh built the Niners’ defense into one of the league’s best so the loss could be detrimental for a team that may be lacking on the offensive side of the ball. Saleh left San Francisco to become the head coach of the New York Jets. San Francisco hired DeMeco Ryans as their new defensive coordinator. Ryans will have the major task of filling Saleh’s shoes and making sure the defense is as dominant as it has been over the past few years.

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San Francisco 49ers Schedule:

  • Week 1: Sun 09/12 at Detroit Lions
  • Week 2: Sun 09/19 at Philadelphia Eagles
  • Week 3: Sun 09/26 vs Green Bay Packers
  • Week 4: Sun 10/03 vs Seattle Seahawks
  • Week 5: Sun 10/10 at Arizona Cardinals
  • Week 6: BYE
  • Week 7: Sun 10/24 vs Indianapolis Colts
  • Week 8: Sun 10/31 at Chicago Bears
  • Week 9: Sun 11/07 vs Atlanta Falcons
  • Week 10: Mon 11/15 vs Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 11: Sun 11/21 at Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Week 12: Sun 11/28 vs Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 13: Sun 12/05 at Seattle Seahawks
  • Week 14: Sun 12/12 at Cincinnati Bengals
  • Week 15: Sun 12/19 vs Atlanta Falcons 
  • Week 16: Thu 12/23 at Tennessee Titans 
  • Week 17: Sun 1/02 vs Houston Texans
  • Week 18: Sun 01/09 at Los Angeles Rams

NFC West: The Niners will have to work hard if they want to compete in a very tough division. Currently, the favorites to win the NFC West are the Seahawks, and they have been upgrading their offense in the offseason. Aside from Seattle, San Francisco has to worry about the Rams, who have also been on the rise in the division. Not to mention, Arizona is only going to improve in Kyler Murray’s third season under center.

Matchups: The first two games of the season will be critical for San Francisco. They play the Lions in Week 1 and the Eagles in Week 2. Both are very winnable matchups and if the team has any chance at making the postseason, they must begin the season 2-0. One of the biggest games for the Niners will be the final week of the season against the Rams. If the Niners exceed expectations, that game could have playoff implications. Other noteworthy matchups include contests against the Packers, Seahawks and Titans.

Overall: The Niners are entering this season with a new defensive coordinator in Ryans. Ryans’ performance will determine if the Niners’ defense remains one of the league’s best. In addition, the team has drafted Lance, who is the future of the franchise. If Lance gets an opportunity and performs well, he may surpass Garoppolo on the depth chart. The Niners are hoping to make the postseason, but the lack of offensive weapons and the tough division they play in will make that goal very difficult to achieve.

Prediction: The Niners will finish with a 9-8 record.

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