NFC West Preview - 2018 San Francisco 49ers +300
The 2018 San Francisco 49ers are +300 Dogs In the NFC West
by Clay KidstonVery few teams have enjoyed the hyperbole that the 2018 San Francisco 49ers have this off-season. There's good reason. A franchise quarterback has been found. The division title is attainable. But is there enough here to really invest in the 49ers long term as division winners? More importantly - are they good enough to compete with the Rams?
Offense A full season of Jimmy Garappolo will do wonders for this team’s offense. Garoppolo joined the 49ers late in the season after a trade from the New England Patriots, and led an otherwise pitiful San Fran team to a 5-1 SU record in their last six games. With a full offseason learning the playbook and familiarizing himself with his teammates and coaches, the 2018 San Francisco 49ers could surprise.
The Niners replaced RB Carlos Hyde (now with the Browns) with former Viking Jerrick McKinnon, and McKinnon’s upside is an intriguing storyline. A freak athlete, McKinnon has done well as a backup and really shown what he’s capable of when given the chance as a featured back. San Francisco will rely on him heavily as their lead back and will give him all the opportunity in the world to run with the gig.
Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin give Garoppolo two solid weapons as receivers, and both formed good chemistry with their new QB early and often. With a full training camp and preseason together, their offensive potential is electrifying.
Defense Defensively, the Niners struggled last season allowing the fifth most points per game at 22.9. Young and talented, specifically on the edges with Solomon Thomas and Arik Armstead, look for the 2018 San Francisco 49ers to improve on defense with the added experience. Former Seahawk Richard Sherman shores up a defense that got demolished through the air last year, and his experience and presence should help the other DBs improve. Reuben Foster, despite his off-field issues, was one of the best rookie linebackers in football last season, and with his talent could become one of the best middle linebackers in all of the NFL. Though still a work in progress, the 49ers should be significantly better on the defensive side in 2018.
Overall San Francisco were a paltry 1-9 SU before acquiring Garoppolo last season. Their season turned around immediately after he was brought on board. A full season with Tom Brady’s former understudy will help this team immensely. Look for the the 2018 San Francisco 49ers to finish second in the division behind the Rams, and potentially sneak into a Wildcard spot. At +300, the 2018 San Francisco 49ers are the best bet of any other NFC West team to surpass the Rams and win the division.