San Francisco 49ers fans have criticized NFL Network analyst Adam Rank since he made his three-win prediction for the Bay Area team in 2019. That 49ers squad went on to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Rank has not predicted such a dire outcome for the 49ers since then. He has projected the team’s win total for the 2022 season. After predicting three wins in 2019, Rank predicted 12 wins in 2020 and 14 in 2021.
What does the crystal ball say about San Francisco for the upcoming season? Rank predicts the 49ers will finish with a 9-8 record.
There are more question marks for head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad this season compared to the last two. While the interior offensive line situation is enough to make any fan nervous, there is no bigger uncertainty than Trey Lance, who is slated to be the starting quarterback after starting just two games last season. If Lance flourishes in his second NFL season, so will the 49ers.
“I’ll just [get] this out of the way: There’s going to be no 3-13 prediction,” Rank, always a good sport about the online heckling resulting from that 2019 prediction, shared.
As a huge Chicago Bears fan, Rank has his favorite NFL team knocking off the 49ers in Week 1 at Soldier Field.
“The Bears should have won that game last year,” Rank explained. “Improved defense. Give me Justin Fields over Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo or whoever it is. Joe Montana. Bring out Steve Young. I don’t care. The Bears win that game.”
What about the 49ers’ other games? Here is how Rank projects the start of San Francisco’s season.
- at Bears – L
- Seahawks – W
- at Broncos – L
- Rams – W
- at Panthers – L
- at Falcons – W
- Chiefs – L
- at Rams – L
That leaves the 49ers under .500 heading into the bye week. Below is Rank’s predicted outcome for the remainder of the season.
- Chargers – W
- at Cardinals – W
- Saints – W
- Dolphins – L
- Buccaneers – L
- at Seahawks – W
- Commanders – W
- at Raiders – L
- Cardinals – W
Despite winning only nine games, Rank still has San Francisco making the playoffs. The record is good enough for second place in the NFC West. He has the Los Angeles Rams finishing with an 11-6 record, the Arizona Cardinals going 8-9, and the Seattle Seahawks finishing 5-12, with the latter two watching the postseason from home.
“Here’s the best-case scenario: Trey Lance is this year’s Joe Burrow, the 49ers head back to the Super Bowl,” Rank said. “That could happen. The worst-case is Lance isn’t even Jimmy Garoppolo, and it all just comes crashing around them, and it doesn’t work out for anybody.
“But as you see right here, nine wins for the San Francisco 49ers. I know you like it better when I picked you guys to win three games because that’s when you go to the Super Bowl, but I’ve got to keep it real. You’re going to win nine games and make the playoffs.”
Rank has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) and Green Bay Packers (12-5) finishing with the best records in the NFC. He has his Bears finishing with more wins than the 49ers, earning a playoff spot with a 10-7 record.
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