How much does the season-ending injury to running back Jerick McKinnon cost the 49ers?

Coach Kyle Shanahan handpicked McKinnon in free agency because of his compatibility with his offensive scheme. The 49ers did not make an attempt to re-sign Carlos Hyde because Shanahan wanted a playmaker who could take advantage of matchups and create big plays.

Now, the 49ers will go with some combination of Alfred Morris and Matt Breida. The offense will have some options, but it will not be the same as having McKinnon on the field.

For the purpose of these predictions, the loss of McKinnon to a season-ending ACL tear – along with ongoing questions about the team’s ability to generate a pass rush -- is enough to bump the 49ers down a notch in the NFC West.

2018 NFL predictions

AFC WEST
1-L.A. Chargers
2-Kansas City
3-Denver
4-RAIDERS (4-12)

AFC EAST
1-New England
2-Miami
3-Buffalo
4-N.Y. Jets

AFC NORTH
1-Pittsburgh
2-Cincinnati
3-Baltimore
4-Cleveland

AFC SOUTH
1-Tennessee
2-Jacksonville
3-Houston
4-Indianapolis

AFC Playoffs
Wild card round: New England over Kansas City; Jacksonville over Pittsburgh
Divisional round: L.A. Chargers over Jacksonville; Tennessee over New England
AFC Championship: L.A. Chargers over Tennessee

NFC WEST
1-L.A. Rams
2-Seattle
3-49ERS (8-8)
4-Arizona

NFC EAST
1-Washington
2-Philadelphia
3-Dallas
4-N.Y. Giants

 

NFC NORTH
1-Minnesota
2-Green Bay
3- Detroit
4-Chicago

NFC SOUTH
1-New Orleans
2-Atlanta
3-Carolina
4-Tampa Bay

NFC Playoffs
Wild card round: Washington over Atlanta; Green Bay over L.A. Rams
Divisional round: New Orleans over Washington; Minnesota over Green Bay
NFC Championship: New Orleans over Minnesota

SUPER BOWL 53
Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta
L.A. Chargers over New Orleans

NFL AWARDS
Most Valuable Player: Tom Brady, New England
Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley, L.A. Rams
Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Bosa, L.A. Chargers
Coach of the Year: Anthony Lynn, L.A. Chargers
Comeback Player of Year: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kerryon Johnson, Detroit
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Miami