3. San Francisco 49ers (finished 2)
What I said at the end of last season:
"The top team in the NFC goes to the #1 seed in the NFL, which is fitting and a sign that sometimes the NFL does get it right. The 49ers are a team with a lot of different things to brag about, but everything has to start with the stellar play of the front seven on defense. That group is what you dream of your front seven to be when you are trying to figure out the perfect lineup throughout the year. Reading like a list of Pro Bowlers rather than an actual team, that defense has speed, power, finesse, discipline, and everything else you could want across the board. Offensively, the 49ers thrive running the ball in interesting ways and getting players like Kyle Juszczyk and Deebo Samuel involved to force defenders to treat every players as a threat. Then when they do that, they yank the rug out from under you and you get battered by George Kittle or shaken by Emmanuel Sanders. To win against the 49ers you are going to have to play incredibly disciplined football and you are going to have to force them to try to beat you in ways they aren’t comfortable with."
The 49ers are a quarterback away from being an amazing team on offense, but settling for really good is never a bad thing when you talk about quarterback play in the NFL.
George Kittle and Deebo Samuel seem to be able to dominate enough that it doesn’t really matter what the QB position looks like, and that isn’t what people come to see anyway.
This team is defined by the confusion that Kyle Shanahan is able to create in the minds of defenses and the incredible front four of the 49ers pass rush.
If San Francisco wants to get to the Super Bowl, they don’t necessarily need more from their quarterback, they just need to hope that their young talent takes another step forward this season and that Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, Fred Werner all develop around another potential star in rookie Javon Kinlaw.