5 Early Predictions for the San Francisco 49ers’ 2014 Season

San Francisco 49ers: 5 Early Predictions for the 2014 Season

Frank Gore
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

A somewhat turbulent offseason off the field will be quickly forgotten when the San Francisco 49ers kick off the 2014 campaign. They're still one of, if not the most talented team in the sport. Here are five early predictions for their upcoming season.

5. NaVorro Bowman Will Return Week 7

NaVorro Bowman
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5. NaVorro Bowman Will Return Week 7

NaVorro Bowman
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A nasty knee injury, sustained during January's NFC title game, will sideline NaVorro Bowman for a good portion of 2014. As one of the league's stoutest inside linebackers, his absence will certainly be felt, but it might not be as lengthy as originally diagnosed. Week 7, a Sunday night affair with the Broncos, would be an opportune time for a return, as it could spark the defense against one of the league's most lethal offenses.

4. Anquan Boldin Will Finish Fourth on Team in Receiving Yards

Anquan Boldin
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

4. Anquan Boldin Will Finish Fourth on Team in Receiving Yards

Anquan Boldin
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

2014 will finally be the season Anquan Boldin's age catches up to him. He'll still be productive for stretches, but a healthy Michael Crabtree, the newly acquired Stevie Johnson and the supremely talented Vernon Davis will all finish the year with more receiving yards. Boldin's impact, as the team's most clutch receiver, will be more significant come playoff time.

3. 49ers Will Lead NFL in Rushing Yards

Carlos Hyde
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

3. 49ers Will Lead NFL in Rushing Yards

Carlos Hyde
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Starting running back Frank Gore could be on the verge of decline, but the 49ers improved their depth at the position with Ohio State's Carlos Hyde in the draft's second round and could also benefit from the addition of a healthy Marcus Lattimore. A talented and deep interior offensive line is also a big reason why San Francisco will employ a dominant rushing attack, good enough to lead the NFL in rushing yards.

2. 49ers Will Be Only Team to Beat Seahawks in Seattle

Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

2. 49ers Will Be Only Team to Beat Seahawks in Seattle

Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The rival Seahawks are virtually unbeatable at CenturyLink Field, the undisputed toughest venue for road teams to win. I can only say virtually, though, because the Seahawks, in a parity-driven league, obviously can and have lost at home. The 49ers are one of the few tams in the NFL that can match Seattle's physicality and will become the only road victor against the "12th Man" in 2014.

1. 49ers Will, Once Again, Lose in NFC Championship Game

Jim Harbaugh
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

1. 49ers Will, Once Again, Lose in NFC Championship Game

Jim Harbaugh
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth consecutive year, the 49ers will reach the NFC Championship Game. But, for the third time in four seasons, they will fall short of reaching the Super Bowl, losing to a team with superior quarterback play, like the Seahawks or Packers, on the doorstep of a trip to Glendale, Arizona to play for the title.


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