After losing Jimmy Garoppolo to a torn ACL in Week 3 last year, the 49ers are hoping to enjoy a healthier bounceback campaign.
The 49ers are still pretty far off from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. But reaching the playoffs would be a pretty solid overachievement. Being in the playoff hunt in December is the expectation level right now after consecutive sub.-500 seasons. Anything more, and San Francisco fans should be thrilled.
The 49ers have a combined 10 wins under head coach Kyle Shanahan the past two years. While injuries derailed the team’s chances in 2018, the bottom line is wins and losses. And the Niners haven’t achieved that.
Another year with five wins or less would be yet another strike against the regime. It’s too early to count out Shanahan, but there would likely be some significant changes if something like last year happened again.
Confidence level (Low, medium or high)
It’s a solid medium.
On paper, the 49ers are a much better team in 2019 than they were a year ago. The defense looks improved. Jimmy Garoppolo is healthy, and there are more offensive weapons, too. It needs to all come together, though.
Defense was the Niners’ key weakness in 2018, yet there’s no way to avoid listing Jimmy Garoppolo as the team’s primary focal point.
Garoppolo’s efforts will ultimately decide just how successful the 49ers can be this season, whether it be merely avoiding mistakes and keeping the offense moving, or potentially putting the team on his shoulders over the course of the year like many of the elites do.
Either way, Garoppolo will have a crucial impact on the team’s fortunes in 2019.
It’s hard to pinpoint just one specific game. But given the 49ers need to be in the playoff hunt in December, one can look at Week 13 on the road vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
That game begins a stretch of five games featuring four playoff teams from a year ago. And the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15 isn’t a “gimmie” game either.
Best moment in team history
The 49ers have arguably the most iconic moment in NFL history, of course. “The Catch” is one of those clips featured on nearly every NFL “great moment” feature, showcasing the play when quarterback Joe Montana hit the late great, Dwight Clark, for a game-winning touchdown over the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship game.
When you mention “The Catch,” fans everywhere know what play you’re talking about.