There’s been plenty of buzz around the 49ers since the NFL Draft nearly two weeks ago, as many think that the turnaround for the team will be swift, and not the long drawn out process that it’s taken for the team to start winning.
Today Pro Football Weekly’s Eric Edholm put out an article ranking all eight last place teams from the 2017 season, and if there’s a chance they can make it all the way to first place in 2018.
According to the article, the Niners have the BEST shot to unseat the Rams for the Division title in 2018 – a feat that won’t come easy.
1. San Francisco 49ers (6-10 last season)
Surprised they’re atop this list? Even if the Jimmy Garoppolo hype has gotten a wee bit out of control for as well as he played down the stretch last season. This is still a team that has some proving to do despite winning five in a row (and six of seven) to close out 2017, and there are some big roadblocks, but an NFC West title isn’t a crazy goal for them to set.
The schedule is daunting out of the gates. They face only one team in the first eight contests that had a losing record last season, and that was the 7-9 Packers, who get Aaron Rodgers back. Three of the first four and four of the first six are away from home, and that Packers Monday night game is followed with a short-week game against the vaunted Rams. That duo also kicks off the stretch from Week 6 to Week 13 in which the 49ers will be in prime time for five of those seven games — we should have an idea how for real they truly are after that span.
Garoppolo should be very good in Kyle Shanahan’s system, and we’re not dismissing what they did to the Jaguars in Week 16 or what this team could be in time. But there’s some finger-crossing that must happen for this 49ers team to ascend summarily — Richard Sherman’s health, Reuben Foster’s availability, the development or more playmakers and the readiness of Mike McGlinchey, among other things.
The Rams won this division last season and loaded up with some serious veteran ammo in the offseason. The Seahawks might be viewed as rebuilding, but Russell Wilson is still there to keep them afloat. The Cardinals might be hard to figure out following somewhat of a cosmetic 8-8 season, but they do get David Johnson back and surely have upgraded at QB.
We like the 49ers, and though winning the West remains a tad pie in the sky in our minds, there appears to be only one team clearly above them right now.