San Francisco 49ers 2018 NFL Team Preview
2017 Record: 6-10
2017 ATS: 9-7
2017 Overs/Unders: 8-8
2018 Regular Season Wins Total: 8.5 wins
Everyone is aware of the lead story in San Francisco heading into the 2018 NFL season. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returns for his first full season with the Niners after finishing last season 5-0 after become the starter. The expectations in San Francisco are enormous and I’m not sure it’s fair to Jimmy G. This was an 0-9 football season before the Garoppolo trade. While Garoppolo provided an instant boost to the offense, there were a multitude of problems defensively. The pass rush was non-existent for the majority of the season and there were some big holes in the secondary. Special teams have also been a struggle for the 49ers in recent years.
The offense is in pretty good hands with head coach Kyle Shanahan calling the plays and Garoppolo under center. The 49ers felt so good with what they saw from Garoppolo in those five games that they offered him a huge 5-year, $137.5 million deal (small sample sizes be damned!). He couldn’t sign fast enough, but now he has to shoulder the burden of giving San Francisco their money’s worth. While his numbers weren’t quite as good as they looked on the surface, it’s clear that Garoppolo is going to be an above-average NFL quarterback and those guys don’t grow on trees. After dishing out the big money for their quarterback, the 49ers went out and gave Jerick McKinnon the third-highest highest running back deal in the NFL. Remember, McKinnon was the third back on the depth chart in Minnesota last season. It was definitely a huge reach and it looks even worse after McKinnon tore his ACL on the very last play of practice on Saturday. He clearly had the makings of a big playmaker and the Niners had all kinds of ideas about how to use him in their offense. There’s no established backup to plug into the starter’s role and the team has yet to go out and grab anyone off of waivers. Alfred Morris and Matt Breida figure to split the carries – not exactly the one-two punch that is going to strike any fear into opposing defenses.
Garoppolo does have some intriguing targets to throw the ball to this season. Pierre Garcon is back after a neck injury and the 49ers drafted Dante Pettis (Washington) in the second round. Marquise Goodwin emerged when Garcon went down last season and had instant chemistry with Garoppolo. Tight ends were also a big part of the Shanahan offense down the stretch.
San Francisco signed cornerback Richard Sherman to play corner but nobody knows how healthy he is going to be in 2018. If he plays like he’s capable of, it’s a big upgrade for a weak secondary. DeForest Buckner is a Defensive Player of Year candidate and is only going to get better. Elvis Dumervil is also a worthy of some praise after a great season. But there are lots of holes on this defense and there are several highly-drafted defenders that haven’t panned out yet. Second-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh needs to prove that he’s capable of improving the defense a couple of notches this season.
After an 0-9 finish, the 49ers finished the 2017 campaign 6-1 and now 49ers fans are talking about the playoffs again.
Bettors Should Keep an Eye On: The defense is the real key. Everyone knows that Garoppolo is a big upgrade over what the Niners have put out there in recent years. He should put up great numbers and they’ll score some points. But there are so many holes to plug on defense and I’m not certain they’re going to get filled this year. If Sherman can raise the play of the secondary overall, it will be a nice start.
Professional sports bettor Waz has notched several big accomplishments in Las Vegas football contests including an $86,000 score in the Station Casinos NFL Last Man Standing contest and 5 cashes in 7 years in the Westgate Supercontest (including a top six finish). Subscribe to get access to Waz’s football picks this season.
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