Helloooooo Faithful! Football is back and those San Francisco 49ers have a new look – and I’m not just talking about the stripes on the jerseys.
We got ourselves a new coach in Kyle Shanahan, a new GM in John Lynch, and a whole slew of new players. Youth is the name of the game with the roster boasting 14 rookies and 30 players who are 25 and younger.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers
First up on the agenda will be the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium. Let’s take a look!
- The Brian Hoyer era begins in Santa Clara on Sunday and man am I excited? Well, after watching Hoyer all through training camp and after his performance against Minnesota, I do think he’ll be the best Brian Hoyer he can be. He has a career QB rating of 84.8 with 8,608 yards passing, 44 TDs and 26 INTS. He has developed great chemistry with both Pierre Garçon and the super speedy Marquise Goodwin so I have high hopes for a decent season in the passing game. Throw in a little Trent Taylor elusiveness in the slot and this passing game just might work.
- However, the 49ers O-line is going to have its work cut out for them dealing with the now healthy linebacker Luke Kuechly and his 693 career tackles and 12 interceptions.
- Over at running back, we know how Shanahan likes to get the best out of all his backs, so though Carlos Hyde will start, expect to see some Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida in this game as well. And don’t forget about Kyle Juszczyk, who will be a versatile weapon in this offense.
- Cam Newton is healthy and will start. Coming off the worst season of his career with a QB rating of 54, 3,509 yard, 19 TDs and 14 interceptions, he’ll be looking to right some wrongs. Rookie Reuben Foster will also be looking for some sacks so that will be a good matchup to watch. It remains to be seen if Jimmie Ward will be ready Sunday, so there’s a good chance we see Lorenzo Jerome start at free safety while Eric Reid should continue his strong showing at strong safety. It will be a big test for cornerback Rashard Robinson who had an up and down preseason.
- Perhaps the biggest test will come for that new and improved 49ers defense who was worst against the run game last season and will be facing Jonathan Stewart and the uber-talented rookie Christian McCaffrey on Sunday. I expect big things from Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, and Solomon Thomas, and I expect those things to start week one. Fingers crossed.
You’ll have to watch for my game prediction! Go Niners!Don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly podcast and YouTube channel. Also, make sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @49ersfangirl. Go Niners!