There's a new regime in San Francisco, and while John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan seem to have this storied franchise moving in the right direction, it's still a long path to contention.
How much will the 49ers be able to improve from last year's 2-14 campaign? Let's break it down.
Subscribe to the Pick Six Podcast on iTunes to listen to CBS Sports NFL writers Pete Prisco and Will Brinson, NFL Insider Jason La Canfora and host Nick Kostos break down the latest news and action all season.
|Projected wins||In playoffs||Win division||Conference||Super Bowl|
SportsLine projects a big step forward from a team that won two games last year, and as the Rams' forecast is far more dire (5.0 wins), the 49ers have a great chance to finish out of the cellar in 2017. Based on league-wide projections, however, John Lynch should be in the running for another top-five pick in 2018.
|Win total||Playoffs||Division||Conference||Super Bowl|
|5 (U -140)||14/1||30/1||100/1||200/1|
All odds via Westgate.
Bettors disagree with the projections above, pegging six wins as too ambitious for the 49ers and leaning heavily on Under five wins. That makes the Over a strong value play for the 49ers.
Will Brinson defends his 5-11 prediction:
Buying into Kyle Shanahan's ability to make an immediate impact on offense without the necessary personnel to run a high-octane unit here. Brian Hoyer, Carlos Hyde and Pierre Garcon is not exactly a set of Hall of Fame triplets, but with the addition of Joe Williams and Kapri Bibbs, the 49ers should have enough personnel that is either experienced with or fits well with Shanahan's system that the offense should be better than expected, albeit not great.
Defensively, there's a little bit to cook with. Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas on the defensive line are going to be a problem. Rueben Foster fell in the draft but he can impact from day one with his skill set and on-field knowledge. Eric Reid and Dontae Johnson are better-than-expected pieces in the secondary.
There is a reasonable chance the 49ers remain cellar dwellers, but there are upgrades all over the place on this roster and the coaching staff doesn't have any pressure; the guess here is they surprise a little. Six wins isn't out of the question.