Last year, the San Francisco 49ers were drafting third overall, taking their quarterback of the future, Trey Lance. Additionally, the Niners added Nick Bosa, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel in the previous two drafts.
They all figure prominently in the 49ers’ immediate success and the long-term prosperity of the franchise. With a rejuvenated roster and one of the best head coaches in the game, the Niners are poised for another successful playoff run, currently with NFL odds of +1600 to win the Super Bowl.
Facilitating Learning Curves
Not everyone can adapt to the rigors of the NFL. Still, the 49ers have done exceptionally well to get their younger players acclimated to the league. Bosa has been a disruptive presence off the edge, tallying 15.5 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss last year.
That same season, we saw Samuel emerge as one of the pre-eminent offensive producers. The All-Pro totaled 1,770 yards from scrimmage, leading the league with 18.2 yards per catch and finding paydirt 14 times. That leaves little doubt that San Francisco can help Lance reach his full potential.
The North Dakota State product was used sparingly last season, appearing in six games and starting two when Jimmy Garoppolo was unavailable. Still, Lance improved throughout the season, completing 9-of-18 passes for 100 yards when he relieved Garoppolo for the first time, compared to 16-of-23 for 249 in his last appearance of the season. That gentle exposure gave Lance time to develop and avoid the pitfall of feeling all of the pressure.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has already indicated that Lance will start under center, and his metrics support he’s ready for it.
Trey Lance 💣💣
— PFF (@PFF) August 17, 2022
As good as the Niners have been on offense, they’re earning a reputation for operating one of the stoutest defensive units.
In 2021, San Francisco ranked third in the NFL in yards allowed, limiting opponents to 311.8 yards per game. Their scoring defense was nearly as impressive, ranking fifth with 20.6 points allowed per contest. The group remains largely intact and should be expected to deliver similar results throughout the season.
As noted, Bosa anchors the defensive line, but Arden Key, Arik Armstead, and Ebukam Samson were all primary contributors, combining for 32.5 sacks. In total, 12 different players got to opposing quarterbacks last year, helping the Niners accumulate the second-most sacks.
Division Title Hopes
The NFC West is shaping up to be one of the most challenging divisions in football. Thankfully the Seahawks mailed it in, electing to move on from franchise cornerstones, pushing their competitive window down the line and leaving one fewer opponent to worry about.
Whichever team materializes from the rubble will have earned the division title. There’s good reason to believe that it will be the 49ers.
The Niners’ non-divisional road matchups include the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, and Las Vegas Raiders. There are some challenging opponents mixed in, but overall the Niners’ schedule is not as imposing as some other teams in their division.
Securing a division title and a less obstructed jaunt through the playoffs is critical to San Francisco overcoming the last hurdle and re-claiming a Super Bowl Championship.
BetMGM Super Bowl Insights and Analysis
The 49ers are near the front of the pack on the futures board at BetMGM, tied for the seventh-best Super Bowl odds at +1700.
Over the past three seasons, we’ve seen the team lose to the dynasty Kansas City Chiefs in the big game and eventual champs in the NFC title game. The pieces are in place, and with a new quarterback running the offense, we could see it all come together for the 49ers in 2022.