Before the 2019 season began, the projected win total in Vegas for the San Francisco 49ers was just eight games. Having won only four the year before, it seemed like a reasonable number for a team finally getting its high-priced starting quarterback on the field.
Fast forward six weeks into the season, and some are wondering if the 49ers might actually be able to double the projection. Yes—go undefeated.
It seems like a crazy notion, but they are one of only two undefeated teams left in the NFL and the only one in the NFC (the one in the AFC is the New England Patriots). The Patriots have been a part of the undefeated discussion for weeks (current odds at FanDuel +500), but for the 49ers, it is something new.
However, in light of how well their defense dominated the Los Angeles Rams last week and the Browns the week before, the possibility of the 49ers making it happen is worth discussing. The odds at FanDuel certainly make it enticing– +3400.
So—can they make it happen?
Winning five games in a row is one thing but winning another 11 would be incredible. But when your defense is holding teams to 237.4 total yards/game and just 12.8 points/game (second-best in the NFL), it sounds more plausible.
They’ve been doing their best work against the pass (150.2 yards/game allowed) but haven’t been too shabby against the run either (87.2 yards/game). Is it them, though, or the competition? Do they look so good because they haven’t played anyone?
The Buccaneers are not perceived as a very good team but are still the fourth-highest scoring one in the league. However, the Rams, despite their recent struggles, are one of the better offenses in the league (11th in scoring; 25.5 points/game) But the Browns, Steelers, and Bengals are not that good.
So—yeah, maybe their success on defense has been helped by a lack of competition.
On the offensive end, the 49ers have the third highest-scoring offense in the league this at 29.4 points/game. However, they haven’t exactly faced a tough defense, yet. Maybe a little of their offensive success is due to their schedule as well.
Does that mean they will not go undefeated? Let’s examine their schedule. They face a weak Washington team this week. But will see a tough one the week after in the Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals should be an easy win in Weeks Nine and 11 as well as the Falcons in Week 15.
But they have a lot of tough games on the schedule in the second half of the season: the Seahawks in Week Ten and 17; the Packers in Week 12 followed by the Ravens and Saints. They get to see the Rams once again in Week 16.
Can they do it?
Of course, they might be able to; anything is possible. But to face down that many good teams without losing one? Yeah—the 49ers aren’t that good. They will be competitive this season, maybe even win the division, but they are not going to go undefeated.