ESPN Reveals Massive San Francisco 49ers Prediction For 2024 Season

Brock Purdy, Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
NFL Analysis Network

Even though the San Francisco 49ers have had one of the NFL’s best rosters over the last five years and have progressively gotten more talented during that time, they haven’t won it all.

They have made the Super Bowl twice during that time, they lost both times to the Kansas City Chiefs. To make matters worse, they blew 10-point leads in both big games, and last season, they lost in an extremely tight Super Bowl matchup in overtime.

Still, they will be returning virtually their entire core from last season, and many still believe in their chances of winning the world championship.

According to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), the 49ers are the favorites to win this coming season’s Vince Lombardi Trophy, narrowly edging out the Chiefs.

“Although San Francisco fell short in overtime at the Super Bowl, there’s no mistaking its elite play throughout the 2023 season,” wrote Seth Walder.

“Postseason included, the 49ers were clearly the best offense in terms of EPA per play at 0.15, solidly ahead of the Buffalo Bills (0.12) and the Dallas Cowboys (0.11). Pairing that with a top-10 defense made the 49ers the best team in football in the FPI’s mind, even if they didn’t win.

“There’s little reason to believe that will change in 2024. We can debate the true division of credit among quarterback Brock Purdy, coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers’ plethora of talented skill position players, but it all adds up to a championship contender as long as running back Christian McCaffrey, wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, and tight end George Kittle remain healthy and productive. The defensive leaders — end Nick Bosa, tackle Javon Hargrave, linebacker Fred Warner and cornerback Charvarius Ward — also return.

“That all makes the 49ers the FPI’s No. 1 team. And when coupled with the NFC still being weaker on average (by about 0.8 points per game in FPI rating) than the AFC, it leaves an open path for the 49ers to return to the Super Bowl. San Francisco has a 25% chance to reach the Super Bowl and a 16% chance to win it — both best in the league.”

San Francisco does have a bit of a reason to be concerned, as Aiyuk is looking for a lucrative contract extension, and according to reports, the two sides aren’t close to an agreement, at least not yet.

However, the team is loaded with talent on both sides of the football. While its defense, which was the best in the NFL in 2022, slipped somewhat last season, the addition of veteran defensive end Leonard Floyd should free up Bosa a little more this coming campaign.

Purdy, who had an outstanding first full season as a starter in 2023, has been able to train this offseason rather than recover from an injury, as he did last spring and summer. McCaffrey, the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, is at the peak of his powers, and Trent Williams is still arguably the best left tackle in the game.

Meanwhile, safety Talanoa Hufanga, who was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro First-Team selection in 2022, tore his ACL late last season. His absence in the Super Bowl has been overlooked by some, but he’s aiming to be back by Week 1 this September.

As long as they stay healthy, the San Francisco 49ers, at the very least, will be in the mix for the NFL’s grand prize this fall and winter. Perhaps this is the season they finally make good on their “Quest for Six.”

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