San Francisco 49ers: 3 discreet challenges team will face in 2020
By Peter Panacy
The San Francisco 49ers will remain a Super Bowl contender in 2020, yet these unforeseen challenges could present problems for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co.
In one year, the San Francisco 49ers went from the No. 2-drafting team in the NFL Draft to the NFC champions in the Super Bowl, a massive turnaround from a four-win team to the elite crop of squads ready to compete again for another NFL championship.
Unlike 2019, though, the Niners are no longer flying under the radar. There won’t be any additional “they haven’t played anybody” or “they’re pretenders” arguments this upcoming season.
Instead, teams facing San Francisco in 2020 will be matching themselves up with one of the league’s best.
That alone presents some challenges, yes. But those returning from last year’s late-season gauntlet of playoff-caliber squads can understand what it’ll be like to have a playoff atmosphere in a regular-season game. The Niners can gear up with the experience gained from the crushing Super Bowl loss, too. And while other teams are gunning for San Francisco, San Francisco is also on its proverbial “revenge tour.”
These are known and understood challenges for the 49ers this year.
But there are plenty of less-known and perhaps unforeseen challenges head coach Kyle Shanahan and his squad will encounter over the course of 2020. Some of them reside within the Niners’ own division, the NFC West, which San Francisco won by the slimmest of margins a year ago. Others are the result of what’s transpired during the offseason.
While it’s far to early to predict how everything pans out between now and Week 1, it is possible to predict some under-the-radar obstacles in the 49ers’ way of getting back to the Super Bowl this season, and ultimately winning it.