Predicting the 2016 San Francisco 49ers Week 17 Starting Lineup
By Peter Panacy
OK, the slide that most 49ers fans want to see and the one, potentially, which may be the toughest to predict.
No storyline in the upcoming Niners season will draw more attention than the quarterback battle between Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. After seizing the starting job from Kaepernick midway through last season, all signs are pointing towards Gabbert retaining that role to kick off 2016 as well.
At least according to NFL analyst Mike Silver (h/t Dan Hanzus of NFL.com) and Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier.
So let’s go ahead and assume Gabbert wins the starting gig in Week 1. But does he finish there? That’s another question.
Neither QB may be the ideal fit under Kelly. And Gabbert may not be able to hold onto his starting reins for long either, especially over the first half. San Francisco plays some pretty tough opponents during its first eight contests — the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals, to name a few.
Here’s a bold prediction instead — Kaepernick winds up taking back his starting job at some point in the season and has the gig in Week 17.
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If anything, this argument goes against the national-narrative grain of Gabbert being the “heavy favorite” this season.
And it goes to prove we never can truly predict anything at the NFL level.
Week 17 Starter: Colin Kaepernick
Next: Predicting 49ers 2016 Depth Chart Before Training Camp
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com and Sports-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated.