Sporting News’ NFL predictions for the 2020 season have been made with the understanding that the pro football landscape almost surely will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way through the fall and winter.
So predictions regarding how all teams including the defending NFC champion 49ers will finish in the 2020 NFL standings and beyond are more of a crap shoot than usual. We have no choice but to operate with the roster and schedule knowledge we have of all 32 teams heading into what will be a strange season.
Based on NFL senior writer Vinnie Iyer’s game picks for the entire 2020 season, SN is projecting a bit of a drop-off for San Francisco after it tore through the NFC playoff field last season on the heels of a 13-3 regular season. The question is how far the 49ers will fall, and where they’ll land in the postseason a year after their heartbreaking Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs.
Below are Iyer’s predictions for the 49ers in 2020, plus how Vegas oddsmakers view their chances to win a Super Bowl.
49ers record prediction for 2020
Iyer’s take: The 49ers edged the Seahawks for the NFC West and No. 1 seed last season. This four-game regression will still get them into the playoffs as a wild card with the roles reversed.
Call this a mild version of a Super Bowl hangover, with a few key personnel changes and injuries giving them a few more questions than they had at the end of last season.
Haislop’s take: A regression from a 13-3 regular season would be natural for any team in this league, so it’s fair to expect the 49ers to slip. Not helping their case are some tricky road games in New Orleans (again) and Dallas. The back-to-back New York games toward the beginning of the season will be a challenge logistically out of the gate, especially amid the virus.
Still, this is a team that probably would be the defending Super Bowl champion had Patrick Mahomes not gone nuts in the fourth quarter. And outside of the DeForest Buckner trade, San Francisco didn’t experience many significant short-term losses to its roster in the offseason. There’s no reason to believe the 49ers can’t contend again in 2020.
49ers odds for 2020 win total, Super Bowl
According to the Super Bowl odds at Sports Insider, only the Ravens and the Chiefs (+650) have better chances to win Super Bowl 55 than the 49ers do at +1000.
Those odds also make the 49ers the favorites to repeat as NFC champions, slightly ahead of the Saints, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Eagles, Seahawks and Packers.
Sports Insider also lists San Francisco as the favorite to win the NFC West over Seattle with a significant rise in the odds for Los Angeles and Arizona.
49ers schedule 2020
Assuming the 2020 NFL schedule remains intact without any pandemic-related adjustments, the 49ers will play the fourth toughest schedule in the NFL based on opponents’ 2019 winning percentage.
Naturally for a high-profile team coming off a Super Bowl run, San Francisco has four prime-time games on its schedule and could end up with more depending on the NFL’s schedule tweaks late in the season.
Below is the 49ers’ complete schedule for the 2020 season.
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