When the 2019 schedule came out, it looked like the 49ers had a real shot at opening the season with three straight losses – maybe even five.
The first two games were in the Eastern time zone, where the team hadn’t won since Harbaugh was prowling the sideline. Then came home games against the Steelers and much hyped Browns, followed by a trip to Los Angeles to face the Rams.
So the victory over the Buccaneers was vital. The team still might lose the next four games, but there’s at least a reasonable hope that won’t happen.
The Steelers and Browns both looked like horse manure last Sunday, and if that’s a true indication, they’re both beatable. The Bengals were supposed to be the weakest team on the opening gambit, but they gave the Seahawks all they could handle up in Seattle, before losing by one point. Maybe they’re not as bad as most people thought they would be.
Then again, using the first game of the season as an indicator of what’s to come is a proven way to be laughed out of court four games later.
The Bengals are still a bit of a mystery this year. Which is surely fine with their fans after sixteen years of Marvin Lewis‘s good-but-no-cigar teams that made the playoffs seven years and lost the first game each and every time. His .518 winning percentage over that time is the very definition of slightly better than mediocre. Of course, having Mike Brown, the stingiest owner in the NFL, pinching out the player paychecks probably doesn’t help an HC’s recruiting ability.
The new HC is Zac Taylor, formerly with the Rams. Cincinnati is hoping he brought some of Sean McVay‘s magic dust and not McVay’s vanishing act in last year’s SB. We’ll be hoping for the latter this week.