Experts predict 49ers Super Bowl, Lance breakout in '23


The 49ers have turned the page on the 2022 NFL season and will look to re-establish themselves as Super Bowl LVIII contenders in 2023. 

And for some, they already have. 

ESPN analysts made their early predictions for the 2023 season, including Super Bowl matchups, MVP picks and breakout players. 

Of the 10 experts surveyed, seven had the 49ers representing the NFC in the Super Bowl next season, with only one picking San Francisco to win it all. 

Stephania Bell, fantasy football analyst: 49ers over Bengals

Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: Bengals over 49ers

Tristan H. Cockcroft, fantasy football analyst: Bengals over 49ers

Matt Miller, NFL draft analyst: Chiefs over 49ers

"Sure, this might seem like an obvious choice, but the 49ers have been to two consecutive NFC Championship Games only to lose to teams that were simply healthier than they were at the time," Miller writes. "There is a big decision coming at quarterback, but Shanahan has proved he can win with Jimmy Garoppolo or Brock Purdy.

Eric Moody, fantasy football analyst: Chiefs over 49ers

Jason Reid, senior Andscape writer: Chiefs over 49ers

Field Yates, NFL analyst: Chiefs over 49ers

"I'll simplify this: The Chiefs have the best QB in the league, and the 49ers have the best roster when examining the non-QB players in place," Yates writes. 


None of the analysts picked an MVP winner from the 49ers, but quarterback Trey Lance was chosen as a breakout player in 2023. 

Reid: Trey Lance, QB, 49ers.

"After having multiple surgeries on his right ankle, Lance is expected to be ready for OTAs. Purdy won't be, though, as he recovers from elbow surgery," Reid writes. "Assuming the 49ers move on from Garoppolo, the path should be clear for Lance to be the team's Week 1 starter for the second straight season. Let's not forget that the 49ers traded up in the 2021 draft to take Lance third overall. With this roster, Lance could shine."

Both Reid and Mike Tannenbaum also picked the 49ers as the most interesting team this offseason. 

"It's all about the quarterback position, because you really can make an argument that any of Garoppolo, Purdy or Trey Lance should be their starter," Tannenbaum writes. "Garoppolo is a free agent again, but they brought him back last summer, and he ended up playing after Lance's injury. This is a fascinating situation."

RELATED: Cosell: Purdy's sample size not enough to determine QB's skill

There is no question that the 49ers have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. If San Francisco can stay healthy at the quarterback position, the sky truly is the limit. 

However, that's proving to be quite the big "if."

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