How The 49ers Can Be This Year’s Best Dark Horse

After a roller coaster season last year for the 49ers, they walk into the 2018-2019 season with high expectations from many. Last year, after starting 0-9 and getting one lone win against the Giants, Jimmy Garoppolo, who the Niners traded for just after Week 8, made his 49ers debut in the 4th quarter of the Week 12 game against the Seahawks after the current starting quarterback, C. J. Beathard went down with an injury. Garoppolo would proceed to throw his first touchdown as 49er to wide receiver Louis Murphy Jr. After that Week, Niners did not lose a single game, ending the season 6-10.

With such a sudden turnaround, expectations were set high. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch would make many acquisitions the following offseason, signing big name players like Richard Sherman and Jerick McKinnon. Niners would sign Garoppolo to a five-year contract worth $137.5 million with $90 million in guarantees, making the contract the largest in NFL history. With the turnaround, many of the players the 49ers have signed to deals are going to have a very motivated mindset and a lot pressure on them, but with that being said, the Niners have endured way more pressure with multiple poor seasons.

San Francisco now is in a better spot with the NFC West less intimidating. Seattle lost some big name players such as Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson and more. This means the Niners with an improved offense in Garoppolo, McKinnon, and their new offensive line, Seattle used to be famed defense could struggle. Arizona, who is undecided with their starting quarterback, losing receivers, an offensive line absent of big starter and an underachieving defense, Arizona has to look for a way to return to triumph but for the time being, San Francisco has an easy win foreshadowing them. Los Angeles would be the only team 49ers have to watch out for, L.A. with improved receiving corps and a brand new defense almost, 49ers’ game plan for them who have to be militaristic. Although the Rams’ front seven is weak in terms of linebackers, with their best one being Mark Barron. But with the addition of Ndamukong Suh, and already Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, San Francisco’s o-line will have a lot of their plate.

Comparing the 2018 San Francisco 49ers to the 1981 San Francisco 49ers at first may sound like a stretch, but many coincidences fit in. Head coach great Bill Walsh comes off a 6-10 season in 1980, future Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana is ready to show the football world what he’s made of. The following season San Francisco would go 13-3 and win their first Super Bowl and the rest is history. So what’s trying to be said here is, it’s happened before. Nothing is guaranteed nor expected in sports, so the 49ers’ path is still unexpected but great things and success seem to lurk ahead for them.