49ers Expected to Struggle Mightily in 2015 After Historically Awful Offseason

Mark Lathrop

Friday, August 28, 2015 3:21 PM GMT

Sports bettors beware when shading San Francisco with NFL Picks. The 49ers have barely survived an offseason full of chaos, retirements, suspensions, and arrests.

The Excitement in Town isn’t About Football
The best thing to happen to the 49ers this offseason was the signing of Australian rugby star, Jarryd Hayne. Despite having too many “y’s” in his name, Hayne has been a refreshing distraction in training camp. After never having played in pads his entire life, Hayne has gone out in the first two preseason games and lit up the stat sheet. I don’t think I can overstate how incredible it was that this was his first organized American Football game, and it was in the NFL. He looks like a natural running in space, can make a guy or two miss, and at 6’2”, 220lbs, can run a 4.5 forty. The guy is a physical specimen. Not to be on this quest completely alone, Hayne is good friends with Reggie Bush, who is slated to be the 3rd down change-of-pace back for the 49ers this year. His returns on special teams have been fascinating to watch so far and I’m rooting for him to make the 53-man roster. It certainly looks like he will as 4th round draft pick RB, Mike Davis, has yet to impress so far in camp.

 

Expect Score to Go Down Under
The Under was 11-5 for the 49ers in 2014 and I fully expect that trend to continue. Looking at the roster, the Niners won’t have a choice but to lean against the run game for their offense. The offensive line is the least of their worries and anchored by veteran Joe Staley. I would say this is going to give Colin Kaepernick a lot of time to throw the ball, but his receiver core isn’t really built for big plays. Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith will be efficient at ‘long handoffs’ at least. What could derail this prediction is the defensive backfield, which is currently a bunch of unproven players with the exception of Eric Reid. An elite opposing quarterback could light them up if given the chance or playing from behind and desperation.

Further cementing this Under trend is the performance of San Francisco against division foes. The Under was 5-1 in division games in 2014 after going 4-3 in 2013. If you look at the division as a whole each team’s defense is just as good or better than last year, likely with the exception of San Francisco.

 

Roster Mismatches
Looking at San Francisco’s weaknesses of the defensive secondary and linebacker corps it is easy to speculate which type of team will give them trouble. Foremost is a matchup with an elite quarterback. The Packers, Giants, Falcons, and Bengals passing game should all give that secondary fits. Seattle will also be a bad matchup because their linebackers will have to cover Jimmy Graham with no help over the top. That’s six potential losses right there. Looking at the schedule, the Niners games against questionable quarterbacks are unfortunately on the road as well. It sure looks like a 4 to 5 win season is on the horizon for the 49ers, so keep this in mind when making your 2015 season NFL Picks.