The San Francisco 49ers kick off their 2019 regular season with a road contest versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Niner Noise previews this already-crucial game for the Niners.
It’s weird to think the San Francisco 49ers‘ first game of the 2019 regular season feels like a must-win contest.
But considering the Niners schedule this year, especially in a tough NFC West and over the final five weeks, pulling off a road win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 looks like a must-do task for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co.
Shanahan has just three wins on the road since taking over head coaching duties in 2017, which doesn’t bode well for this contest. Especially considering the Buccaneers embarrassed the 49ers 27-9 the last time these two teams met — Week 12 a year ago.
The context is entirely different, though. The Niners spent the offseason heavily investing in both their defensive line and wide receiver corps, while the Bucs hired former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians out of retirement. San Francisco gets quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo back, too, after he missed nearly all of 2018 with an ACL tear.
Needless to say, there’s going to be a lot of attention on Garoppolo, who’ll go through his first four quarters since Week 2 of last season. So much of San Francisco’s success this year hinges on Garoppolo.
Particularly if the Niners want to get off to a much-needed hot start.
One could make the argument Tampa Bay has far more questions than San Francisco entering 2019, and the 49ers have some means to put the odds in their favor.
With all this as a backdrop, Niner Noise breaks down this intriguing road bout for the red and gold.