Jimmy Garappolo is going to get tested like never before in his Week One matchup. The Minnesota Vikings were the toughest defence in the NFL last season (first in points allowed; second in passing yards and rushing yards allowed).
There wasn’t a weak link then, and there is no reason to think there is going to be a weak one now. If anything, the Vikings defence is going to be even better after losing Tom Johnson but adding Sheldon Richardson.
To be fair, Garappolo faced a pretty tough Jacksonville defence last year and had a pretty decent day (21-30 for 242 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception).
However, the hard part for the 49ers may not be scoring points but stopping Minnesota from doing so. San Francisco’s defence wasn’t very strong last year. The addition of Richard Sherman will help, but he can’t turn a mediocre secondary into a good one. He’s certainly not going to help the pass rush.
Minnesota may have lost its starting quarterback and offensive coordinator, but you could say they got an upgrade at both. The return of Dalvin Cook should give the running game a boost as well.
So—who’s going to win?
The oddsmakers have made the Vikings a six-point favorite in this one. As great as Garappolo’s five-games were last year, he hasn’t seen a defence like the Vikings yet. Don’t expect him to score much. Don’t expect the 49ers defence to slow down the Vikings offensive juggernaut either.
Minnesota will win (-245) and cover the spread (-6). With the Over/Under set at 46 this week—take the under.