San Fransisco 49ers
The big thing for the 49ers is that Jimmy G will be back under center and that should solve a lot of last year’s problems. In the backfield, the 49ers offense returns Jerick McKinnon, who was also lost to injury. He’ll team up with Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, which gives the 49ers one of the most potent backfields in the NFL and will make this Niners offense one of the most diverse in the entire league. Rookie wideouts Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd deepen an underappreciated depth chart there too and give Jimmy G many more weapons through the air. Don’t forget George Kittle who may be able to take over the mantle as the best receiving Tight End in the NFL now that Gronk has retired. Look for the 49ers offensive line to be a big difference-maker as the 49ers will employ a deadly zone running scheme and with multiple running backs that will make play-action passing even more dangerous. The Question with Jimmy G. has to be turning the ball over and since he missed most of last year I look for him to have some issues the first half of the season but once he gets that squared away this could be a team that can grind you down in a low scoring game or win in a shootout if need be.
On defense, the improvements maybe even more dramatic for the 49ers. Kwon Alexander has had health issues lately, but he fits this Niners defense perfectly. Throw in Dee Ford with No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa to form what could be one of the NFL’s best pressure-creating tandems in the NFL and you have the makings of a very good defense upfront.
Division wise I think a lot of questions surround the rest of the NFC West. Seattle has Russell Wilson, but seem to lose more around him every year than they gain. Arizona looks to be a mess and the Rams have questions at QB and also questions about the health of running back Todd Gurley.
I really believe that at worst the 49ers will find themselves in the NFC Championship game and I really expect the Super Bowl to be a certain possibility. This looks to me like a complete team that can win 12 games during the regular season.
The biggest thing here will be can Quarterback Matthew Stafford bounce back from an average year? Offensively the weapons that were added in the offseason have to give Lions fans hope. Start off with the addition of Danny Amendola now helping to keep the chains moving. First-round pick T.J. Hockenson was the draft’s most well-rounded Tight End, which has to have Matthew Stafford excited also. The biggest key to this turnaround could be running back Kerryon Johnson who I believe the Lions could turn into a workhorse back. Combine Johnson with a solid passing game and the Lions could make some noise this season.
The Lions on defense should have one of the most dominant front sevens in all of football with new addition Trey Flowers and with key returners Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, and Da’Shawn Hand. If Linebacker Jarrad Davis keeps improving the Lions could be a very dangerous team in 2019.
If Matthew Stafford can stay healthy the Lions can win 9 games and possibly grab a wild card.