Thursday, August 3, 2017

San Francisco 49ers - 2017 NFL Season Preview

SAN FRANCISCO 49ers                                            

2016 Record - 2-14-0

Head Coach - Kyle Shanahan

Offensive Rank - 31st (308 yards per game, 19.3 points per game)

Defensive Rank - 32nd (406 yards allowed per game, 30 points allowed per game)

It's back to the drawing board as the 49ers have their fourth head coach in as many years as Kyle Shanahan takes over. He will look to veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer, who is looking to resurrect his career, to lead the offense. Matt Barkley is the backup along with rookie C.J. Beathard.  The running game has Carlos Hyde (1,106 yards, 10 TD) and Tim Hightower (548 yards with New Orleans) and the top receivers are Pierre Garcon (79 receptions for 1,041 yards with Washington) and Jeremy Kerley (64, 667). Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson were signed and will be available this season.
The defense was the worst in pro football a year ago and the 'Niners signed former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith (linebacker) to help shore things up. Rookie draft picks Solomon Thomas (DE from Stanford) and linebacker Reuben Foster (Alabama) could be impact players along with veterans NaVarro Bowman (LB) and pass rushers DeForest Buckner and Ahmad Brooks (six sacks each). Jimmie Ward leads the way in the secondary.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - Since the 2014 season, the 49ers have steadily declined and Shanahan will look to get things rolling in the right direction in the 2017 season.  However, too many questions linger at the QB spot and the free agent signings are nice, but can they pay dividends quickly?
The defense must improve and the infusion of potentially solid rookie playmakers to go with some proven veterans might make a difference. The team had 20 turnovers forced last year (10 fumbles and ten picks) and should that trend upward, it would provide a boost.
The problem for the 'Niners is they play along with Seattle and Arizona in the rugged NFC West division, so they will likely be also-rans once again. The expectations here are for a 5-11 finish this season.

Week One - vs. Carolina
Week Two - at Seattle
Week Three - vs. LA Rams
Week Four - at Arizona
Week Five - at Indianapolis
Week Six - at Washington
Week Seven - vs. Dallas
Week Eight - at Philadelphia
Week Nine - vs. Arizona
Week Ten - vs. NY Giants
Week Eleven - BYE
Week Twelve - vs. Seattle
Week Thirteen - at Chicago
Week Fourteen - at Houston
Week Fifteen - vs. Tennsessee
Week Sixteen - vs. Jacksonville
Week Seventeen - at LA Rams

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