SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco 49ers visit returning Head Coach Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they kick-off their season on Sunday, September 8. The new season brings a renewed sense of optimism of the future of the franchise, as they try to live up to lofty expectations at the end of in 2017 season winning their last five games on route to a 6-10 season. ESPN’s Football Power Index (F.P.I.) projects the 49ers to go 11-5 and win the NFC West beating out the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams (F.PI. Projection: 9-7) for the NFC West divisional title.

This will be the sixth in the league and second with SF for both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerrick McKinnon respectively, as they left college for the 2014 NFL Draft. In 2018, both McKinnon and Garoppolo suffered season ending injuries. With their starting quarterback and running back both sitting in all but one division game, the team fell to 4-12 for the season.

The season saw the advantageous emergence of potential future stalwarts such as Tight End George Kittle and Running Back Matt Brieda. As reported by team officials on August 31, McKinnon suffered a set back with his rehabbed knee and would need to seek surgery that will keep him out the remainder of the season.

Off-season signings of running back Telvin Coleman from the Atlanta Falcons and Ohio State star defensive end Nick Bosa thru the draft, the holes on both sides of the ball are brimming with the most talent core that hasn’t been seen since the Harbaugh Era (2011-2014). In a interview with this week Jimmy Garoppolo expressed clearing his physical and mental hurdles going into this fresh season with optimism.