It looks like the QB1 battle in San Francisco will leak into the season. Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to get the Week 1 start, but 2021 third overall pick Trey Lance is close to overtaking Garoppolo on the depth chart.
The San Francisco 49ers were decimated with injuries last year and as a result they finished last in the NFC West with a 6-10 record. If this team can stay healthy in 2021, they could make a run in the NFC. The quarterback battle between veteran Jimmy Garoppolo and highly-touted rookie Trey Lance will easily be the biggest storyline for the Niners in the early part of the season and beyond. Can this team get back to Super Bowl contention, or was last year a wakeup call to blow things up in Santa Clara?
Notable Draft Picks
QB Trey Lance, G Aaron Banks, RB Trey Sermon, CB Ambry Thomas.
San Francisco 49ers Acquisitions and Moves
The 49ers aren’t afraid to cut their losses and move on from their $137,000,000 investment in Garoppolo. It was only two years ago that Garoppolo had San Francisco ahead by 10 points with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV, but after blowing the championship and missing all but six games last year, the Niners are clearly frustrated. Does San Francisco want to throw Lance into the fire right away, or will they use Garoppolo to ease Lance into the NFL, much like the Bills did with Josh Allen?
John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan opted to take Lance with the No. 3 pick in the draft. Lance is a physically gifted quarterback, but there are questions about his readiness for the NFL. It will be interesting to see how Garoppolo responds to Lance. A highly drafted rookie clearly puts pressure on the veteran quarterback, which might be exactly what the 49ers want. Regardless, there’s clearly an open competition for the starting job that will leak into the regular season.
The ground game should get a significant boost with third-round pick Trey Sermon. It won’t be easy for Sermon to beat out running back Raheem Mostert, who has thrived under Shanahan’s system, but Sermon has more raw talent so he’ll definitely compete for the starting job. The offensive line was also upgraded with the signing of veteran Alex Mack. Although he turns 36 in November, Mack still has a lot to give.
The loss of cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon won’t help a secondary that already struggled with injuries in 2020. Rookie Ambry Thomas, a third-round pick, will likely challenge Dontae Johnson to start across from Jason Verrett.
San Francisco 49ers 2021 NFL Schedule
The 49ers won’t have it easy in their six divisional games, but they should have it easier against NFC North and AFC South opponents. You can also bet Shanahan and company weren’t happy with an early bye week in the new 17-game season, which will see San Fran’ end the season with 12 straight games. That’s concerning for a team that struggled heavily with injuries last year.
San Francisco has five 10 a.m. Pacific Time starts and their first five games of the season could be the toughest stretch of the year. They start with easier road games in Detroit and Philadelphia, but then go back home for a tough matchup against the Packers, followed by two divisional games against Seattle and Arizona. By the time they hit their Week 6 bye, we should have a clearer idea of how the rest of the season will go for the 49ers.
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 12 @ Detroit Lions, 1 p.m
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 19 @ Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 26 vs. Green Bay Packers, 8:20 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 3 vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 10 @ Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 24 vs. Indianapolis Colts, 8:20 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 31 @ Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 7 vs. Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
Week 10: Monday, Nov. 15 vs. Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 21 @ Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 28 vs. Minnesota Vikings, 4:25 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 5 @ Seattle Seahawks, 8:20 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 12 @ Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 19 vs. Atlanta Falcons, 4:05 p.m.
Week 16: Thursday, Dec. 23 @ Tennessee Titans, 8:20 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2 vs. Houston Texans, 4:05 p.m.
Week 18: Sunday, Jan. 9 @ Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m.
San Francisco 49ers NFL Betting Odds
They’re in a tough division, but if San Francisco can stay healthy, -200 to make the playoffs is a bargain on the NFL futures odds. The 49ers’ win total of 10.5 is too rich for my blood, so I’m banking on the Under at -130. They’re currently locked in as +185 favourites to win the NFC West and at +580, they have some of the best odds to win the NFC Championship. They’re +1205 to win the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers 2021 Season Prediction
Wipe the 2020 season from your memories. The 49ers never had a chance with so many key players on offence and defence suffering significant injuries. If this team can stay healthy, they’ll compete for the NFC Championship. How Shanahan manages the quarterback situation will be essential. If the rookie Lance is starting Week 18, something went really right or really wrong for this team. The 49ers will finish behind the Rams and Seahawks with a 10-7 record.