Last year the San Francisco 49ers had a very mediocre 8-8 season last year, which prompted Jim Harbaugh to take his leave to the college ranks. This year Niners are really expected to struggle as their Win Total currently sits at 6.5 with juice to the Over (-130). Vegas odds have the Niners listed at +1500 to win the NFC West, +3800 to win the NFC Title and +6500 to win the Super Bowl. A season preview of San Francisco along with their 2015 Schedule are below.
Last year the 49er's offense ranked 25th in scoring, at 19.1 ppg, while also ranking 20th in total yards (327.4 ypg), 30th in passing (190.4 ypg) and 4th in rushing (136.0 ypg). The offense this year will not look the same as it has in years past as Frank Gore is gone, along with WR Michael Crabtree. Colin Kaepernick is still the QB of this team, but after a couple of lackluster seasons in a row is it a good thing that he is their QB? The Niners tried to make him more of a pocket passer and that is not his game. He did run for 639 yards last year, but had just 1 rushing TD and was sacked a league high 52 times. Part of that is on the OL, which does have Joe Staley, but also lost Mike Iupati, who is one of the best left guards in the league. The Niners did add Erik Pears through free agency and a couple of OGs with tehir 8th an 9th picks in the draft, but this is still not a terribly good offensive line. The Niners lost Crabtree and Johnson in the offseason, but they still have Boldin, who had his 7th 1000 yard receiving year in 12 years as a pro last year, plus they have added Torrey Smith from Baltimore, who give them a solid duo of deep threats. Depth at WR is not great though. The running game has been a staple of this team for year, but this year there is no Frank Gore toting the ball. Carlos Hyde will take over for him and he does have the potential of reaching DD in TDs, while Reggie Bush was signed in the offseason for depth and third downs, as he is a great receiver out of the backfield. Mike Davis was taken in the 4th round and should also add some solid depth to this unit.
Defensively the Niners ranked 10th in points allowed (21.2 ppg), 5th in yards allowed (321.4 ypg), 5th vs the pass (220.7 ypg) and 7th vs the run (100.8 ypg). Defense has been another staple of this team over the year, but it looks like they will take a step back this year on this side of the ball. The DL will struggle this year with the losses of Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. The Niners did draft Arik Armstead at DE with their first pick in the draft and he is a big guy with blazing speed off the line. Darnell Dockett should replace Smith at DT after spending 10 seasons with the Cardinals. Ian Williams is solid at NT, but he has a history of injuries, while Jerrod-Eddie should get the call at the other end spot on the line after missing all of last year. The LB corps has some big holes to fill after Patrick Willis and Chris Borland both retired unexpectedly. They still have Aldon Smith, who missed 9 games last year due to suspension and NaVarro Bowman, who had an outstanding 2013, but missed all of last year, plus they have added OLB Eli Harold with their 3 pick in the draft. Still the loss of Willis and Borland makes this a below average LB corps. The secondary should be the best unit of this defense, with Antoine Bethea (4ints last year) and former first rounder Eric Reid back there. They also added a solid corner in Shareece Wright (San Diego) and picked up safety Jaquiski Tartt in the 2nd round of the draft.
Not only do the Niners have big holes to file on the field, but they also have an inexperienced HC in Jim Tomsula and other coaches that are not used to coaching the units that they, plus the Niners also had some defections in the front office as well. This team is a mess right now. The offense put up just 19.1 ppg last year and it may be hard for them to top that this year. Kaepernick is not a pocket passer, the WR corps has no depth and the running game will not be the same without Frank Gore back there. The defense lost 4 core players in the offseason, including Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Justin smith and Ray McDonald and that has to leave a mark on this team. The secondary is rather solid, but the front 7 will struggle this year and it has little depth as well. This team has just too many holes to feel that they can compete in a division where the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks all should put up at least 9 wins on the year. Niners win 6 at most here.
Info Gathered From Pro Football Weekly & Athlon Sports
2015 San Francisco 49ers Schedule
Sept. 14 Minnesota Vikings (Mon), 10:20
Sept. 20 at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1
Sept. 27 at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05
Oct. 4 Green Bay Packers, 4:25
Oct. 11 at New York Giants*, 8:30
Oct. 18 Baltimore Ravens, 4:25
Oct. 22 Seattle Seahawks (Thu), 8:25
Nov. 1 at St. Louis Rams, 1
Nov. 8 Atlanta Falcons, 4:05
Nov. 15 BYE
Nov. 22 at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25
Nov. 29 Arizona Cardinals, 4:05
Dec. 6 at Chicago Bears, 1
Dec. 13 at Cleveland Browns, 1
Dec. 20 Cincinnati Bengals*, 8:30
Dec. 27 at Detroit Lions, 1
Jan. 3 St. Louis Rams, 4:25
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San Francisco 49ers: 2015 NFL Free Picks & Betting Odds
When it comes to the ailing San Francisco 49ers, pro bettors Teddy Covers and Steve Fezzik are with the rest of the world in that they believe the Colin Kaepernick-led squad is going to really struggle in the 2015-2016 season. As Fezzik points out, this team has two coaches and 16 players left from the 2013 Super Bowl team. With no stability and a team where 24 year olds are more inclined to retire than play, the Niners are facing an uphill battle in the NFC West this season.