NFL Predictions 2010: San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers weren’t expected to do much last season, but they ended the year with an 8-8 record. If they can bring the same type of energy to the start of the 2010 season that they brought to the end of last season, they could find themselves above .500 in 2011.
2009 NFL Recap for the San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers thought they had found their quarterback in Shaun Hill, and for two games, they were right. The 49ers won their opening two contests against the Cardinals and the Seahawks, mostly behind the efforts of their defense. However, the 49ers would go on to lose 5 of their next 6 games, including a 45-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. In the midst of that stretch, the 49ers elected to reinsert Alex Smith at quarterback; thus, in Week 7, Smith was the starter, and he would on to that position for the rest of the season. With Smith in as the quarterback, the 49ers would go 5-5 and finish the season 8-8. Smith was actually quite reliable, but it was the rushing game of Frank Gore and the 49ers defense that kept San Francisco from cellar-dwelling the NFC West. Also, TE Vernon Davis finally delivered on all of the potential that preceded his entry into the NFL by producing 965-yard season and catching 13 touchdown passes in 2009.
San Francisco 49ers 2010 Offseason Transactions
As if the 49ers haven’t had enough questions at the quarterback position, San Francisco elected to sign QB David Carr to fill the backup quarterback role. That meant Shaun Hill was out of a job; so he was traded to the Detroit Lions for a draft pick. Also on offense, Isaac Bruce announced he was retiring, the 49ers signed RB Anthony Dixon, and San Francisco used their first round draft picks on two offensive linemen, OT Anthony Davis and OG Mike Iupati. Two of the 49ers most surprising moves included trading for WR Ted Ginn and signing RB Brian Westbrook after Glen Coffee announced he was retiring from NFL football at the age of 23 years old. Defensively, the 49ers did not do much. They tied Patrick Willis to a long-term deal and signed TE Nate Byham to one as well.
2010 NFL Prediction for the San Francisco 49ers
This is a make-it or break-it year for QB Alex Smith. If he doesn’t look like a long-term quarterback this season, he can look forward to a career as a backup quarterback for the rest of his NFL existence. The weapons for him to have some semblance of success are there though. WR Michael Crabtree could become Smith’s go-to passing option, and last year, Smith established some great rapport with the aforementioned Vernon Davis. Not to mention, with Frank Gore gaining yards from the backfield and in the passing game, he is a quarterback’s best friend. And WR Josh Morgan and RB Brian Westbrook both bring a veteran presence to the passing game that should serve as security blankets for whenever Smith is in trouble.
Defensively, the 49ers have little if any problems. Sure, they could do better than Shawntae Spencer at cornerback, but he has proven he can be a contributor to a good defense. And with CB Nate Clements on the other side, the 49ers can use SS Michael Lewis over the top of Spencer to help out. In the box, the 49ers have one of the NFL’s best linebackers in Patrick Willis, and beside him, is long-time veteran Takeo Spikes. With LOLB Manny Lawson and RDE Justin Smith rushing the quarterback, this defensive front will be one of the most feared boxes in the league. I don’t know that any team in the NFC West can handle the defensive prowess of the 49ers, so we are predicting that San Francisco wins the West, and they will do it with a record of 9-7.
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