Okay. Enough of the foreplay. Next Sunday the Kyle Shanahan Era officially begins. Good luck, KS. You’ve got big shoes to fill (the Jim Harbaugh Era), and tiny shoes to flick aside (the Jim Tomsula/Chip Kelly Eras).
And, of course, a dickhead owner hanging around ready to corrupt anything you accomplish at a moment’s tantrum.
The 49ers aren’t favored to win more than a handful of games this year, if that, and they won’t be favored this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. The only factors working in their favor are the perceived potential of the defense, coupled with the perceived wizardry of Shanahan’s offense, and their recent invincibility on opening day.
The team has won six straight openers — four during Harbaugh’s years, and a couple of complete anomalies the past two years. They trashed the Vikings in 2015 and the Rams last year, before entering season long tailspins of ineptitude.
The Panthers are looking to re-discover their 15-1 mojo from the 2015 season and no doubt figure drubbing the Niners would be a great way to start. They’ve added RB Christian McCaffrey to their arsenal, a guy who’s very dangerous in the open field. Our LBs and secondary will have their hands full trying to contain him.
The Panthers should have as much a clue about what to expect from a Shanahan offense as anybody, since they’ve faced him four times over the past two years as Atlanta’s OC. Whether that matters or not will be disclosed by the experts after the game has concluded.
Speaking of experts, it’s our turn to show what we’ve got. Season predictions can be submitted any time this week, up until midnight Saturday.