While the summer season brings much enjoyment to the average person, for an NFL fan, it represents a desolate wasteland where Sundays just aren't quite as vibrant as in the autumn months. However, with each passing day, we inch closer to the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, which officially kicks off on September 8 this year.
Whether you've had your favorite team's tweet notifications turned on all summer or if you've decided to tune out all football news entirely, you'll be able to learn everything you need to know about your team going into the 2022-23 season right here.
In today's article, I'll be discussing the San Francisco 49ers.
I'm working on season guidebooks for all 32 NFL teams, which will all be released within the next few weeks. To check out another team's guidebook, click here:
2021 Season Recap
San Francisco had a bit of a slow start in 2021, suffering several significant injuries to the defense. However, they were able to eventually get into a groove and managed to work their way into the postseason, where they actually found some success. The 49ers defeated the Cowboys in the wild card round, then won a grueling game against the Packers. However, they lost 20-17 to the Rams in the NFC Championship, falling just short of a Super Bowl appearance.
The Niners finished toward the top of the league in most statistical categories in 2021, with their biggest weakness coming in the passing game offensively. The defensive minded franchise should repeat their defensive success this season, while they'll hope to get solid quarterback play from either Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo in 2022.
Significant Roster Moves
San Francisco lost a few key players from last season, primarily on the defensive side of the ball. D.J. Jones, Josh Norman, Jaquiski Tartt, and K'Waun Williams will all be missed, but the 49ers already had depth to fill in for those losses. They also added Charvarius Ward and George Odum, who will take on significant reps with their new team.
The Niners also added some new talent at receiver, such as Ray-Ray McCloud, Malik Turner, and Willie Snead. Tyler Kroft also adds depth at tight end, so whoever ends up playing quarterback will have plenty of weapons to spread the ball around to.
2022 Draft Class
San Francisco had nine selections in this year's draft, splitting them almost evenly between the offense and defense. They loaded up on the offense early, so outside of Drake Jackson, Niners fans likely won't get used to seeing any of the defensive players selected on the field too much this season. Third-round selections Tyrion Davis-Price and Danny Gray will probably make the most immediate impact in San Francisco.
The 49ers also drafted QB Brock Purdy out of Iowa State with their final pick. They'll try to develop him over the next few seasons, but if Trey Lance pans out as well as the team expects him to, they won't need another QB for a while.
The 49ers will take on the NFC South and the AFC West to go along with their six divisional games. Their other three opponents are the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Commanders. With an opponent prior season win percentage of .533, San Francisco has the 5th hardest schedule in the NFL.
San Francisco's primetime games include one Thursday night game at Seattle, two Sunday night games at Denver and versus the Los Angeles Rams, and two Monday night games versus L.A. and at Arizona.
The 49ers will return 14 of their 22 offensive and defensive starters from a season ago, which is below average across all teams in the league. Trey Lance is currently listed as starting quarterback, which means San Francisco probably has the highest quality backup in the league. It's uncertain whether or not they'll try to trade him somewhere else, but regardless, the offense is set up to be as good as it has been in recent seasons.
The defense should be as effective as you would expect from a San Francisco team, as they've done a great job replacing any talent they lost from 2021.
Kyle Shanahan enters his 6th season as head coach of the 49ers, a role in which he has excelled in his tenure. Shanahan also controls the offense and acts as offensive coordinator of the team. DeMeco Ryans will take on his second season as defensive coordinator with San Francisco, while Brian Schneider will be special teams coordinator for the first time in 2022.
Oddsmakers have set the regular season win total for San Francisco at 10 games. As of right now, the 49ers are the 2nd most likely team to win the NFC West and the 4th most likely team to win the whole NFC. At +1600 to win the 2023 Super Bowl, they are tied for 7th among all teams in the league.
Bucket Squad Predictions
Expectations are rather high for the 49ers, and it's for good reason in my estimation. San Francisco has found success in recent years despite not having a great quarterback, and while I don't know for sure how good Trey Lance will be, reports out of camp suggest the team is very happy with how he has progressed as he enters his second season in the league.
I think the Niners will have a really good defense again in 2022 and that the offense is set up as good as any for a QB to have success. I'm projecting San Francisco to go 11-6 and finish as runner-ups in the NFC West, but still make the playoffs as a wild card team.
What do you think? Will San Francisco be better or worse than I'm projecting? What offseason moves made by the 49ers surprised you the most? Leave a comment down below and be sure to check the "NFL" section of the website for more NFL team guidebooks as I finish them.
Written by Nick Swatson
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.