2018 San Francisco 49ers Season Win Totals Predictions and Expert Picks
2017 Record: 6-10
2018 San Francisco 49ers Las Vegas Season Win Total: 8.5*
2018 San Francisco 49ers Season Win Total Picks NFL Football: 'Under'
Is there any room left on the 49ers bandwagon?
San Francisco is one of the trendiest picks to compete in the NFL this season. And despite going 6-10 last year and winning just 13 games over the course of the past three seasons, some members of the bobblehead media have spent the summer debating San Francisco's bona fides as a Super Bowl contender this year.
Look, you have to be impressed with the 180 that this team did last year when Jimmy Garoppolo came on board. They won their final five games and gave themselves a load of momentum leading into 2018. However, if you look back on those five wins you will see that they beat the Bears and Texans (combined nine wins) and won home games against Tennessee and Jacksonville. Their final win was over the Rams in Week 17 when Los Angeles rested its entire team for the playoffs.
Kyle Shanahan seems to be the new "it" coach. And on one hand he has the Shanahan System, which has been one of the most successful offensive schemes in the NFL for the last 20 years. This is the same offensive system that helped his father win two Super Bowls in Denver. That system helped establish Houston as a contender in the AFC and got Matt Schaub to the Pro Bowl. It's the same system that Gary Kubiak used to win another title for the Broncos.
This is a plug-and-play scheme. And with a legitimate quarterback, Garoppolo, at the controls, the 49ers should eventually find success. But I don't think San Francisco is there just yet. Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin won't send fear down the spines of many defensive coordinators. Running back Jerick McKinnon is a career backup. And the depth at receiver and running back are nonexistent. San Francisco has a decent offensive line. But these guys aren't going to be plowing through anyone.
Defensively, San Francisco has more potential than production. Young players like Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Reuben Foster have a lot of physical gifts. But they have yet to turn that into consistent production. The secondary is also an area of concern, even beyond past-his-prime corner Richard Sherman. This team has finished No. 24 or worse in scoring defense for three straight seasons.
I also have questions about Shanahan. Having watched him for years as an offensive coordinator, I can honestly say he is one of the worst game managers I've ever seen. He, perhaps more than anyone, was responsible for the worst collapse in Super Bowl history when Atlanta lost to the Patriots. Shanahan derailed Robert Griffin's promising career in Washington and flamed out with both the Redskins and the Browns. This guy has some bright red flags.
San Francisco starts this season with three of four games on the road. And seven of their first eight games are against teams that finished .500 or better. The eighth game is at Green Bay. That is part of a brutal schedule that doesn't let up until they close the regular season with three of four games at home. And because of all the offseason buzz, I don't think the 49ers will be sneaking up on anyone.
Momentum doesn't carry over from year to year. Especially momentum gained in garbage time late in the year against a bunch of weak opponents. I think the 49ers are moving in the right direction. But they still lack top-end talent at a lot of key places. They look like they are a year away from really competing. I will go against the public and play this one 'under'.
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