SF 49ers: Revisiting win/loss predictions in light of Week 2 injuries

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the SF 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the SF 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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George Kittle #85 of the SF 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the SF 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

SF 49ers’ Weeks 5-8

Week 5 vs. Miami Dolphins

Much like the opponents for Weeks 3 and 4, the Miami Dolphins are winless so far in 2020. But they have put up pretty good fights in both losses so far, suggesting they might be a tough out in Week 5 for the SF 49ers.

That doesn’t mean the 49ers shouldn’t be able to win, especially since by this meeting they should have close to a full cadre of offensive options, a unit that should be good enough to lead this team to victories even if the defense isn’t at full strength.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to fight admirably, but he’s a known quantity who is holding the seat for 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa out of Alabama, who is coming from back from a scary hip injury sustained last season in college.

The offense has been decent, averaging just over 350 yards per game so far, but the defense is really having a difficult time getting going, giving up over 450 yards per game, and, more importantly, 26 points per game, on the young season.

It might be a tougher game for the Niners than expected, especially without that dominant defense, but the Niners should have enough to handle their business against a lesser opponent.

Result: Win

Record: 4-1

Week 6 vs. Los Angeles Rams (Sunday Night Football)

Admittedly, I fully expected the Los Angeles Rams to be the worst team in this division by a somewhat wide margin. But so far, they are 2-0 and looking pretty potent on offense.

In fact, PFF has them graded as the second-best team overall through two weeks with a 79.5, including 86.4 on offense (second) and 64.9 on defense (ninth).

The traditional stats are solid, too, as they’re averaging 28.5 points and 443 yards on offense while allowing just 18 points and 382 yards per game on defense. Those types of splits throughout a whole season should keep them in the playoff race.

The Rams put up a good fight against a top-notch Niners defense last season in their last matchup, which the 49ers won in a shootout 34-31 in late December. So I wouldn’t expect anything less from them at this point, even if it isn’t clear yet if the first two weeks are indicative of what the 2020 Rams will be.

While I don’t anticipate a sweep of any teams in the NFC West this season, I do believe the Niners will hold serve at home, continuing their winning streak heading into likely their most difficult stretch of the season.

Result: Win

Record: 5-1

Week 7 @ New England Patriots

The Patriots’ signing of quarterback Cam Newton is going to go down as one of the major bargains not just of the 2020 season, but maybe ever.

Through two games, the Patriots are 1-1 after losing on the goal line to Seattle in Week 2, and Week 1 victory of the Dolphins and Newton has been key in both games.

The former Carolina Panthers quarterback is 45-63 (71.4 percent) for 552 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while rushing 26 times for 122 yards (4.7 YPC) and four touchdowns. With all the questions about his skill positions players outside of maybe wide receiver Julian Edelman, Newton has essentially been the Pats offense.

All the while their defense has taken several steps back from their 2019 form, largely because they haven’t been forcing turnovers, having created just one fumble (which they did not recover) and a single interception.

Their overall defensive grade via PFF tells a similar story, with their 59.2 grade good for just 16th in the NFL.

This game feels like one the SF 49ers could have gone into New England and stolen from the Patriots if the Niners had their full strength defense in tow. But it may come down to a shootout as the Pats had with Seattle in Week 2, meaning it could go either way.

For now, let’s continue to notch those victories.

Result: Win

Record: 6-1

Week 8 @ Seattle Seahawks

This pains me to say this, but the Seahawks are looking like a contender so far in 2020 and their quarterback, Russell Wilson, is playing like the league’s MVP.

This stretch of games is going to be a tough one, especially if Wilson continues at his torrid pace. So far he’s averaging 305 net passing yards per game while completing 82 percent of his passes and throwing for nine touchdowns and just one pick.

Wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is coming into his own in his second year in the league, pulling down eight catches on 14 targets for 187 yards and two scores through two weeks.

And Seattle seems to be getting out of its own way, running the ball just 50 times through two weeks, while Wilson has thrown 63 passes and been sacked five times, for a total of 68 dropbacks.

And while the defense has given up a lot of yards and points (493 and 27.5 per game, respectively), if the offense continues to cook like this, the defense will have to do just enough to win, something they’ve done so far.

This being the second of two games away from home, especially after flying to the east coast and then back west, doesn’t help matters.

But after getting a long-needed win in Seattle to end the 2019 regular season, it doesn’t seem likely that the SF 49ers will be continuing a winning streak up in the Pacific Northwest this year.

Result: Loss

Record: 6-2