The first week of the NFL season is now more or less upon us with the Packers and Saints kicking the season off this Thursday and our 49ers kicking things off on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. In spite of the lockout we've managed to cram six months worth of offseason discussion into the last six weeks since the end of the lockout. Now football is really, finally back. We like it.
We haven't done nearly as many predictions as we might otherwise like. Given that it's Labor Day and we're slowly working our way into this week, I thought it'd be fun to run through the schedule one final time before the start of the season and make some predictions. The 49ers over/under on wins this season is 7.5. A lot of folks have the 49ers in the six to seven win range at this point.
One of my primary concerns for the 49ers is the early part of the season. There are some tough games early on, but the bigger issue is how the team effective the team will be early in the season in implementing the offense and defense. The team's most effective performance came in week four of the preseason and even Vic Fangio suggested the team would likely not be able to implement the entire defense this season. That's not to say they'll be running around with no idea what is going on, but rather the team might not get quite as exotic with their defenses as they might have with a normal offseason.
Below you can check out my fairly quick predictions on wins and losses. I basically just went game-by-game and went on gut instinct rather than taking too much time to thoroughly break down each game. As it currently stands gut instinct netted a 7-9 record. My predictions contain virtually no upsets other than maybe Seattle on the road. I suppose Washington could be favored in DC, but I'm not so sure about that.
Of the losses predicted below, I'd say Tampa Bay is the one I could see as most likely to be a win. The Buccaneers had a strong 2010 season but it's hard to tell if they'll regress a bit or whether youth will continue to be served in Tampa. Detroit is also a team with a lot of people predicting a big step forward in 2011. However, every year there seems to be at least one team that gets a lot of love only to fall flat. The 49ers have been that team a couple times recently. Could Detroit be that team in 2011?
Of the wins predicted below, at Seattle could swing the other way given how unpredictable division matchups can be. Cleveland is another team that has a lot of question marks that could make them a surprise team.
I could see these team swinging anywhere between 5-11 and 9-7 based on the schedule. I think we'll see an improved team from last year, but the record does not necessarily indicate that. Anything is possible but I think 5-11 is a realistic pessimistic view, while 9-7 is a realistic optimistic view. I think it falls somewhere in between there but any big swing in my mind comes within the division. I have them 4-2 in division but the NFC West battles could be entirely unpredictable.
How do you see 2011 shaping up?
Week 1 - vs. Seattle - WIN
Week 2 - vs. Dallas - LOSS
Week 3 - @ Cincinnati - WIN
Week 4 - @ Philadelphia - LOSS
Week 5 - vs. Tampa Bay - LOSS
Week 6 - @ Detroit - LOSS
Week 7 - Bye
Week 8 - vs. Cleveland - WIN
Week 9 - @ Washington - WIN
Week 10 - vs. NY Giants - LOSS
Week 11 - vs. Arizona - WIN
Week 12 - @ Baltimore - LOSS
Week 13 - vs. St. Louis - WIN
Week 14 - @ Arizona - LOSS
Week 15 - vs. Pittsburgh - LOSS
Week 16 - @ Seattle - WIN
Week 17 - @ St. Louis - LOSS