The rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks was fun to watch. They would build their teams to beat the other. They would even claim each others players that were waived. Well, I guess we can put that rivalry to bed for awhile. The Niners are not the same team…in many, many ways.
The Niners are without head coach Jim Harbaugh who left to coach his alma mater. They also lost many faces on defense to retirement and off the field issues. Long-time running back Frank Gore even left town.
How will Colin Kaepernick fare without an elite defense?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the San Francisco 49ers.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 8-8
Key Additions: RB Reggie Bush, WR Torrey Smith, OT Erik Pears & CB Shareece Wright
Key Losses: RB Frank Gore, WR Michael Crabtree, WR Stevie Johnson, OG Mike Iupati, DE Justin Smith, OLB Aldon Smith, DE Ray McDonald, MLB Patrick Willis, ILB Chris Borland, CB Perrish Cox, CB Chris Culliver, P Andy Lee & OLB Dan Skuta
2015 Draft Picks: DE Arik Armstead, S Jaquiski Tartt, OLB Eli Harold, TE Blake Bell, RB Mike Davis, WR DeAndre Smelter, P Bradley Pinion, OG Ian Silberman, OG Trent Brown & TE Rory Anderson
Non-Division Schedule: AFC North, NFC North & (Atlanta/New York Giants)
Fantasy Sleeper: TE Vernon Davis – I know Davis isn’t exactly a sleeper, but he’s definitely undervalued. He had a back issue last season and it hurt his production. Kaepernick needs consistency and a large tight end is about as comfy of a security blanket you can get in the NFL. I expect more than the 50 targets he received last year.
Offense – QB Colin Kaepernick, RB Carlos Hyde, WR Anquan Boldin, WR Torrey Smith, WR Jerome Simpson, TE Vernon Davis, LT Joe Staley, LG Alex Boone, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Marcus Martin & RT Erik Pears
Defense – DE Tony Jerod-Eddie, DT Ian Williams, DE Tank Carradine, LOLB Ahmad Brooks, ILB NaVorro Bowman, ILB Michael Wilhoite, ROLB Eli Harold, CB Tramaine Brock, CB Shareece Wright, SS Antoine Bethea & FS Eric Reid
Team Analysis: The Niners lost a lot of players this offseason for various reasons. They had guys like Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald who lost their job due to off-the-field issues, a few left the game early in fear of long-term concussion issues and some just skipped town once head coach Jim Harbaugh left to coach the University of Michigan. They still have enough players to be competitive, but it could turn into a full-blown rebuilding season. Colin Kaepernick will be tested since he will not have a stout defense to fall back on for support. It will be an interesting season in San Francisco. This will be a rough year for new head coach Jim Tomsula.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 6.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 7-9 (3rd in NFC West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.