The last San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl win was in 1995. For such a prestigious franchise, they have now gone 26 years without lifting the Vince Lombardi trophy. Since their last championship, they have gone to two Super Bowls and lost them both. Last season the 49ers didn’t just flop, they flopped flat on their red and gold faces. For a team looking to make back-to-back Super Bowls, it hurt to watch as major injury after major injury derailed what could have been a legitimate revenge tour for the Niners. Here is why the San Francisco 49ers are Super Bowl contenders this season.
San Francisco 49ers Are Super Bowl Contenders Going Into 2021 Season
More Positional Depth
The 49ers have made some great moves this off-season, including a few ones that have gone under the radar. One such instance is the acquisition of six-time Pro Bowler Alex Mack from the Atlanta Falcons in free agency to patch up their weakened offensive line from last season as well as signing Trent Williams to a huge six-year deal.
Many have also noted the pick-up of Zach Kerr, former Carolina Panthers defensive tackle. Kerr adds great depth to a position in which the 49ers could use some backup, despite having the likes of Javon Kinlaw and D.J Jones ahead of him. He also comes in with much-needed athleticism to the position, and Peter Panacy of NinerNoise.com believes him to be someone who the Niners could utilize.
“While it was some time ago, Kerr’s 5.08 40-yard time back at his NFL Scouting Combine workouts was awfully impressive for a player now 6-foot-2 and 334 pounds. Watching him play in Carolina last year, it didn’t appear as if he lost a great deal of speed.
That speed, combined with his interior pass-rush prowess, could end up being the X-factor Kerr needs to maintain his spot on San Francisco’s depth chart.”
The addition of Wayne Gallman at the running back position is also one to note, especially after the injury to Jeff Wilson, who tore his meniscus in May. Gallman could prove useful to head coach Kyle Shanahan and running back coach Bobby Turner this season. The 49ers also drafted Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell in this year’s draft.
Injuries Can’t Be Worse Than They Were In 2020
Injuries are why the 2020 Niners season went so poorly. Nick Bosa tore his ACL tear in Week 2, George Kittle missed numerous weeks with multiple injuries and Jimmy Garoppolo dealt with an ankle sprain.
This season, the 49ers are unlikely to suffer the same number of injuries, especially to key players. Considering the number of injuries the Niners suffered, the fact that they managed to win six games last year is actually kind of impressive, especially since no other team in the league had more players on injured reserve last season.
One of the Best Rosters in the League
This 49ers roster is one of the best in the league. Boasting Pro Bowl talent across both offense and defense, this Niners squad can really make a push for a deep playoff run this season. With a great balance of veterans and rookies on both sides of the ball, there is no doubt that if this squad can mostly stay healthy the Niners should have a good season.
These catches by Brandon Aiyuk are ridiculous 😲
[via IG/joshwa.porter] pic.twitter.com/3Nic4wpMnc
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) July 8, 2021
Yes, a large question regarding this roster is about which quarterback Shanahan will go with at the start of the season. But Shanahan will most likely make the correct choice.
With the Niners finishing 6-10 last season and last in the competitive NFC West, their schedule this year is kind, to say the least.
Outside of their yearly divisional matchups, the only teams they will play this year who made the playoffs last season are the Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, and the Chicago Bears. The latter two have made serious changes to their quarterback position over the off-season, with rookie Justin Fields in charge in Chicago and Carson Wentz in a new setup in Indy.
The Niners will also play against five different teams who finished at the bottom of their divisions last season, including the Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, and Philadelphia Eagles. If healthy, the 49ers should reach at least 11 wins this regular season and then be positioned to make a run in the playoffs.