The 2018 season for the San Francisco 49ers was over shortly after it began. In Week 3, starter Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a torn ACL in a 38-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The team was 1-2 at that point, but they would win just three more games the rest of the way.
To the team’s credit, they did not collectively fold up like card tables. There were plenty of miscues and mistakes throughout the dreadful campaign, but the 49ers continued to fight. That’s a big positive moving forward, not to mention a good sign for the tenure of head coach Kyle Shanahan.
He proceeded to have one of the more memorable debuts in recent times. Mullens threw for 262 yards and three scores to lead the team to a huge 34-3 win which wasn’t as close as the score suggested. Off that stellar outing, Mullens earned the starting gig for the rest of the year.
San Francisco would go on to lose its next three in a row, including a pair of back-to-back road losses after the Week 11 bye. In Week 14, the club would finally get back in the win column with a 20-14 defeat of the Denver Broncos.
The week after, the club would defeat the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 26-23 in an overtime stunner. The team closed out the year with another two losses in a row to finish up at 4-12. For the year, the 49ers ranked 21st in the league for points per game. The defense checked in at 28th for fewest points allowed per contest.
As the new season approaches, improvement is expected for the 49ers in the coming year. Garoppolo appears to be good to go and ready for camp. That said, the club is well behind the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks on the odds chart to win the NFC West.
So what’s a reasonable expectation for the 49ers in 2019? Marked improvement or a slow climb back from the bottom? Let’s dig in and find out.
San Francisco 49ers 2018 Season Recap
Record: 4-12 | Standings: 3-NFC West | Playoffs: N/A
San Francisco opened up the season with a 24-16 road defeat to the Minnesota Vikings. The club would bounce back in Week 2 with a 30-27 home win over the Detroit Lions. Garoppolo threw for two scores in the winning effort.
The following week, the club traveled to Kansas City for a date with the Chiefs. The Chiefs held a huge 35-10 lead at the half, but it was all 49ers in the second half. The rally came up short as they fell by a score of 38-27. The biggest takeaway from the game would turn out to be the loss of Garoppolo.
The loss at Kansas City would mark the beginning of a six-game skid. The club was naturally deflated after losing their starter for the year, not to mention having to deal with taking a step backwards on offense. During the streak, the 49ers held the margin of victory to three points or less in three of the losses.
Mullens would step behind center for a Week 9 Thursday night affair with the Raiders. He would go on to put on a show as San Francisco rolled to a 34-3 win in the team’s finest performance of the season. Unfortunately, the spark wouldn’t carry over as the club lost its next three in a row.
The 49ers were just 2-10 heading into Week 14, but they proceeded to win consecutive games for the first time all year. A six-point home win over the Broncos was followed by a three-point home OT victory over the Seahawks. San Francisco closed out the year with losses in the final two games to finish the year at 4-12.
San Francisco 49ers Offseason Moves
Shanahan is back for his third year on the sidelines in San Francisco. He’s just 10-22 during his tenure, so expectations are high heading into the year. Robert Saleh is back as defensive coordinator, while Shanahan will continue to serve as offensive coordinator as well.
The 49ers made a number of moves in free agency, headlined by the signings of LB Kwon Alexander and RB Tevin Coleman. Other notable additions include CB Jason Verrett and LB
David Mayo. On the way out of San Francisco are players including LB Cassius Marsh.
The team would grab Ohio State DE Nick Bosa with the second pick overall. Bosa was injured last year, but he projects as a game-changer on defense. South Carolina wideout Deebo Samuel was the pick in round two, followed by Baylor WR Jalen Hurd in the third.
Mullens and Beathard remain behind Garoppolo on the depth chart this year. Coleman will likely lead the way in the backfield, but Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Breida will also see snaps. Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, and Samuel are currently penciled in atop the wideout depth chart.
Names to watch in camp include Hurd, Trent Taylor, and Jordan Matthews. George Kittle will also see plenty of targets at TE. The club took a number of steps to improve on defense in the offseason, including the additions of Alexander and Bosa.
San Francisco 49ers 2019 Schedule
|1||Sun. Sept.8||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||4:25 PM||FOX|
|2||Sun. Sept.15||at Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 PM||FOX|
|3||Sun. Sept.22||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||4:25 PM||CBS|
|5||Mon. Oct.7||vs. Cleveland Browns||8:15 PM||ESPN|
|6||Sun. Oct.13||at Los Angeles Rams||4:05 PM||FOX|
|7||Sun. Oct.20||at Washington Redskins||1:00 PM||FOX|
|8||Sun. Oct.27||vs. Carolina Panthers||4:05 PM||FOX|
|9||Thu. Oct.31||at Arizona Cardinals||8:20 PM||FOX|
|10||Mon. Nov.11||vs. Seattle Seahawks||8:15 PM||ESPN|
|11||Sun. Nov.17||vs. Arizona Cardinals||4:05 PM||FOX|
|12||Sun. Nov.24||vs. Green Bay Packers||4:25 PM||FOX|
|13||Sun. Dec.1||at Baltimore Ravens||1:00 PM||FOX|
|14||Sun. Dec.8||at New Orleans Saints||1:00 PM||FOX|
|15||Sun. Dec.15||vs. Atlanta Falcons||4:25 PM||FOX|
|16||Sun. Dec.22||vs. Los Angeles Rams||TBD||CBS|
|17||Sun. Dec.29||at Seattle Seahawks||4:25 PM||FOX|
The 49ers open up the year in Tampa Bay. It’s a good measuring stick game for two teams which have designs on big improvement in 2019. That’s followed by a road date with the Bengals and a home tilt versus the Steelers prior to the Week 4 bye.
The club will face a tough schedule the rest of the way. Of the 13 remaining games they face, 10 will be contested against teams which have the playoffs in their sights for the coming year. On the somewhat bright side, six of those games will be at home.
The club will also have a stretch of three straight at home at the end of November, which follows a small break after a Thursday night road game against the Cardinals. However, that’s followed by three of the final five games being on the road, with all games over that stretch coming versus potential playoff squads.
San Francisco 49ers 2019 Outlook
In the NFC West, the Rams are once again favored to win the division, followed by the Seattle Seahawks. Both of those squads made the playoffs last season. For the six games versus division foes, the 49ers should be able to expect two wins, while a mark of 3-3 is possible.
For remaining NFC games, San Francisco will be on the road to face the Buccaneers, Redskins, and Saints. They’ll be on the road to take on the Panthers, Packers, and Falcons. If the team shows marked improvement, then three or four wins is possible, but two is a reasonable ask for now.
Interconference play means dates with the AFC North this year. The 49ers will be on the road to face the Bengals and Ravens, and home for games with the Steelers and Browns. One or two wins is definitely possible, while three would be outperforming expectations.
San Francisco 49ers 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
Here is where the bar has been set for San Francisco by the NFL betting sites. It’s a big leap from the four wins the team earned in 2018, but that was also an injury-plagued campaign.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
The return of Garoppolo alone should translate into additional wins, as should the team’s improvement on defense. We fully expect there to be lots of improvement for the 49ers in 2019.
However, this schedule is a bear. While all NFL schedules are daunting, San Francisco faces off with a number of teams in the playoff hunt after a Week 4 bye. The club is talented enough to compete and may steal some wins it shouldn’t, but we’re tapping the brakes on an 8-win season.
That places us on the Under for the 49ers in 2019.