The San Francisco 49ers started the first half of their 2019 campaign a perfect 8-0. With a tougher schedule on the horizon, these five storylines are key to watch down the stretch run.
Life is good if you’re a San Francisco 49ers fan. Or player, coach or assistant, for that matter.
After the first nine weeks of the 2019 season, the Niners find themselves a perfect 8-0 and the league’s only remaining undefeated team. Few likely expected head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad to be here at this point. And just as few probably thought San Francisco would be in a position to ride the momentum all the way deep into the playoffs.
All that said, however, the 49ers still have to face some notable challenges. While no single game on any schedule should be considered “easy,” the Niners have played just two teams — the Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers — who have records above the .500 mark. That’ll change in the second half, as Shanahan and Co. are looking at two games against the two-loss Seattle Seahawks, another Rams contest, a home bout against the Green Bay Packers and road games in Weeks 13 and 14 against the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints, respectively.
Each one of those teams is still very much alive in the playoff picture, and they’ll be vying for positioning during each one of those upcoming contests.
Yet there’s good news for San Francisco. Already laden with injuries this season, the 49ers can expect a number of key starters to return in the next few weeks. The Niners got by without the services of a lot of starters, including tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, as well as the all-purpose fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, and now they’ll be coming back.
That’s a storyline to watch between Weeks 10 through 17, but what are the others to keep an eye on?
Niner Noise breaks down five such storylines which will have a major impact on San Francisco’s hopeful playoff push this season.