The defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers kick off their 2020 season next Sunday afternoon at home against the division rival Arizona Cardinals. These pesky assholes gave the Niners a scare in both games last season, but clutch fourth quarter play from Jimmy Garoppolo beat them both times.
The 49er offense had no trouble scoring in these games, ringing up 28 points in the first game and 36 in the second. Unfortunately, the vaunted Niner defense was riddled pretty good by the Cardinals in both games, too.
The Cardinals’ offense could be even more dangerous this year with the addition of big time WR DeAndre Hopkins to pair with the venerable all-timer Larry Fitzgerald. I was not able to discern, after a rigorous fifteen second investigation, whether their defense had made any significant improvements, so I’ll put them down in the nothing-to-brag-about category again this year.
For the 49ers, the defense seems reasonably healthy and should be able to put enough heat on Kyler Murray to make his day miserable, unless he gets loose on a rollout where he is as dangerous as Russell Wilson in Seattle and that fellow in the SB. These jitterbug QBs gave the Niners lots of trouble last year. Hopefully, they’ve figured out how to do a better job this year.
Fred Warner might be missing this week, which would hurt both against the pass and the run. Arizona was very successful running the ball last year, but I think it will be harder for them this year with Javon Kinlaw and DJ Jones plugging up the middle of the LOS.
On offense, we don’t know who the starting WRs are going to be, but Trent Taylor and Jerick McKinnon are back from IR and both will be tough to contain. As will Jordan Reed at TE, opposite the irrepressible George Kittle. This should be a win for the Niners and if it isn’t, the sky will surely fall. But at least we’ll be agonizing about a football game and, for a short time at least, not the grim affairs of planet America.
As usual, the final week before the season starts means it’s time for everyone to make their prognostications for the 49ers’ record this year. Entries are open until midnight Saturday.