Predicting 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo, NFC West rival QB's stats in 2020

Josh Schrock
NBC Sports BayArea

Jimmy Garoppolo was solid last season. But the pressure is on for him to take a leap in 2020.

After shaking off the rust in the early part of the season, Garoppolo found his groove in the second half of the season, helping the 49ers to a 13-3 record and the No.1  seed in the NFC. Garoppolo was average in the playoffs. The 49ers ran the ball down the throats of both the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers en route to the Super Bowl. In Miami, Garoppolo threw an atrocious first-quarter pick before rebounding nicely in the middle part of the game to help the 49ers take the lead. But the lasting memory of Garoppolo to this point, is him overthrowing a wide-open Emmanuel Sanders on the could-be game-winning touchdown with under two minutes to play.

The 49ers discussed pursuing Tom Brady this offseason, but chose to stick with Garoppolo, believing he's the long-term answer at quarterback. So, what does the leap look like and can Garoppolo make the jump in the tough NFC West?

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Let's predict Garoppolo and his division counterpart's stats for the 2020 season.

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

Sanders is gone, but Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Kendrick Bourne and rookie Brandon Aiyuk should give Garoppolo plenty of weapons to spread the ball around to. The 49ers ranked second in the NFL in rushing attempts last season, so while Shanahan wants to see growth from Garoppolo, expect the ground attack to still take center stage.

Samuel flashed potential in his rookie season, but now he must fill the role as the No. 1 wide receiver and second option in the passing game behind Kittle. Aiyuk has great YAC ability, but rookie receivers often struggle to make a quick transition to the NFL. With no OTAs due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it could take Aiyuk some time to get up to speed.

The biggest issue facing Garoppolo is his decision-making ability. He threw too many head-scratching picks and defenses dropped eight potential interceptions, the sixth-most in the NFL.

While I expect Garoppolo to make a slight tick up in 2020, I wouldn't expect his numbers to look all that different from what they were in 2020. Expect around 4,000 yards and double-digit interceptions.

Projected 2020 stats: 71.4 percent completion rate, 4,129 yards, 25 touchdowns, 14 interceptions

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

49ers fans love to hate Wilson and for good reason. He's been a thorn in their side ever since he entered the league. He never gets hurt and has the ability to take what is, in general, an average roster and elevate them to greatness.

The Seahawks didn't do much in the offseason to improve the cast around Wilson, but he'll still have Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Phillip Dorsett to throw the ball too.

Seattle might want to open up the playbook a bit and let Wilson spin it more than they have in previous seasons. He is, after all, a top-five quarterback.

Projected 2020 stats: 67.8 percent completion rate, 4,356 yards, 36 touchdowns, seven interceptions

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

After drawing some criticism for dumping 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen after one season, the Cardinals quickly were justified in their decision to build their franchise around Kyler Murray.

The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner was electric during his rookie season, coming on late to surpass Raiders running back Josh Jacobs for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Another year in Kliff Kingsbury's offense coupled with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins and the bolstering of a shaky offensive line should make Murray all the more dangerous in Year 2.

He's an MVP dark horse and I wouldn't be shocked to see him take home the award in his second season, following in the footsteps of Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes.

Projected 2020 stats: 65.1 percent completion, 4,612 yards, 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 615 rushing yards, seven touchdowns

[RELATED: Seahawks' easy late schedule could hurt 49ers in NFC West race]

Jared Goff, LA Rams

The Rams cut bait with the hobbled Todd Gurley and jettisoned the expensive Brandin Cooks to Houston. Goff still has Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, rookie Van Jefferson and tight end Tyler Higbee.

But LA had the 31st ranked offensive line in the NFL last season and didn't do a thing to fix it. Couple that with the fact that Goff threw the most play-action passes in 2019 while having the NFL's lowest passer rating on play-action passes.

That might not all be Goff's fault, but it's certainly not a good sign. Goff was the best quarterback on play-action in 2018, so he needs to find that form if the Rams are to contend in 2020.

Projected 2020 stats: 61.3 percent completion rate, 4, 478 yards, 23 touchdowns, 16 interceptions.

Predicting 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo, NFC West rival QB's stats in 2020 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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