What NFL experts are projecting for 49ers' 2023 season

What NFL experts are projecting for 49ers' 2023 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The 2023 NFL season officially is underway, and the 49ers have their sights set on the franchise's sixth Super Bowl championship.

San Francisco boasts arguably one of the best rosters the team has ever had and is a popular pick to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.

Here's what NFL experts are predicting for the 49ers' 2023 season:

Cynthia Frelund, NFL Network

*Based on Frelund's simulation that included one million runs of every NFL regular-season game*

San Francisco 49ers
Projected NFC West champions

Ceiling: 12.8

Floor: 8.7

FanDuel over/under: 10.5

"As we head into this fantasy football season, I feel like some people are forgetting about how awesome a healthy Deebo Samuel is -- but not this analyst," Frelund wrote. "Deebo cruises past 750 receiving yards in 59.4 percent of my models. I project he’ll nearly reach 1,000 and he’s my WR16."

Peter Schrager, NFL Network

"The most valuable player of the 2023 season is going to be Christian McCaffrey", Schrager said on "Good Morning Football. "I think the 49ers are the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and I think McCaffrey is the engine that drives them there.

"If you are going to win MVP as a running back, you better run for 2,000 yards or go 1,000 and 1,000 with 100 catches. It's all possible for this dude. I got McCaffrey as the MVP of the league despite this being a quarterback award. You have to be that good, that historic, and I can see it in this offense.

"When it's all said and done by the end of the year, it's going to be undeniable. Yes, we love our quarterbacks; they can all go for the Offensive Player of the Year award. MVP? McCaffrey!"

The MMQB, Sports Illustrated

Albert Breer:
Super Bowl: Bengals 24, 49ers 17; Joe Burrow MVP

Conor Orr:
Super Bowl: Bengals 31, 49ers 27; Joe Burrow MVP

Gilberto Manzano:
Super Bowl: Bengals 31, 49ers 27; Joe Burrow MVP

"The 49ers have the best roster in the NFL, and Brock Purdy appears to be the right quarterback to lead them to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas," Manzano wrote. "The Bengals aren’t as loaded as the 49ers, but they have the quarterback advantage with Burrow, which will be enough for Cincinnati to earn its first Lombardi Trophy, and some payback for the two Super Bowl losses in the ’80s against San Francisco."

Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area


1-49ers (12-5)
2-Seattle (11-6)
3-L.A. Rams (5-12)
4-Arizona (0-17)


1-Philadelphia (12-5)
2-Dallas (11-6)
3-N.Y. Giants (10-7)
4-Washington (6-11)


1-Detroit (11-6)
2-Minnesota (9-8)
3-Chicago (7-10)
4-Green Bay (6-11)


1-Atlanta (10-5)
2-New Orleans (8-9)
3-Tampa Bay (6-11)
4-Carolina  (5-12)

NFC Playoffs

First round: (2) 49ers over (7) N.Y. Giants; (3) Detroit over (6) Seattle; (4) Atlanta over Dallas (5)
Second round: (1) Philadelphia over Falcons; 49ers over Detroit
NFC Championship: Eagles over 49ers

Super Bowl 58: L.A. Chargers over Eagles

Seth Walder, ESPN

Bold prediction for 2023: "George Kittle will reach 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2019," Walder wrote. "Despite fewer receiving yards over the past few seasons, Kittle's receiving ability hasn't wavered. In each of the past four seasons, he has ranked in the top two in the receiver tracking metrics' overall score among tight ends. He also established a rapport with Purdy late last season that will pay off in 2023."

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk

NFC Predictions

1. 49ers; 2. Eagles; 3. Packers; 4. Saints; 5. Seahawks; 6. Giants; 7. Cowboys

Wild card: Eagles over Cowboys, Packers over Giants, Seahawks over Saints
Divisional: 49ers over Seahawks; Eagles over Packers
Conference championship: 49ers over Eagles
Super Bowl: Chiefs over 49ers.

Steven Ruiz, The Ringer

NFC East: Cowboys
NFC South: Falcons
NFC North: Packers
NFC West: 49ers

Wild card: Eagles
Wild card: Seahawks
Wild card: Lions

Conference champion: 49ers
Super Bowl: Chiefs over 49ers

"We can save everyone a bunch of time by penciling in the Chiefs as my Super Bowl pick every season for the next decade, Ruiz wrote. "Actually, let’s say two decades just to be on the safe side. I went with chalk across the board in the AFC but picked new division winners in three of the four NFC divisions. It might take Kyle Shanahan a month or two to realize that the best quarterback on his team is currently riding the bench. That’s a tease for my award picks."

NFL Comeback Player of the Year: Sam Darnold

"I refuse to believe that we live in a world where Purdy is a longtime starter," Ruiz added. "I will not let Shanahan gaslight me! Purdy was a seventh-round pick for a reason! Darnold is the most talented quarterback Shanahan has had in San Francisco! That’s too many exclamation points. I need to settle down.

"But, really, I’m concerned that Purdy’s runaround style will get him into trouble. Especially in this system, which can expose quarterbacks to hits. Darnold will play at some point this season, and Shanahan has a habit of bringing the best out of quarterbacks. If we do see Darnold’s best—remember, he was the third overall pick in 2018 for a reason—he’s probably not giving that job up."

Adam Schein, NFL Network

Kyle Shanahan puts genius on display as 49ers earn sixth Lombardi Trophy

"49ers over Bills has been my Super Bowl pick all offseason, and I'm not changing it now, on the verge of kickoff," Schein wrote.

"Admittedly, I was a little freaked out when I sat down to write this column -- at that point, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa was still holding out. On top of the fact that DeMeco Ryans is no longer driving San Francisco's defensive ship, not having Bosa was a concerning thought. Still, I figured the Niners had enough talent across the roster to temporarily survive Bosa's absence -- and now they won't even have to do that! On Wednesday, Bosa signed a five-year, $170 million extension. Onward and upward to the franchise's sixth Lombardi Trophy!

"Wait, can 2022's Mr. Irrelevant really guide this team to a Super Bowl title? Yes. Yes, he can. I just ranked the Brock Purdy-led Niners offense as the league's best, so clearly I'm quite confident in San Francisco putting points on the board. How could you not be? Kyle Shanahan is a special offensive mind. And with weaponry at his disposal that includes Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Elijah Mitchell, Shanahan will continue to befuddle opposing defenses with his inspired game plans. Meanwhile, the defense just ranked first in yards and points allowed last season. The group is stacked with difference-makers at each level -- including the freshly PAID sack artist in the No. 97 jersey."

CBS Sports

Super Bowl picks

Pete Prisco: 49ers over Jaguars
Will Brinson: Bills over 49ers
Jared Dubin: Chiefs over 49ers

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