The last few months, I have spent a good amount of time examining the offseason moves of all the 49ers' upcoming 2012 opponents. I have had a blast, and I hope you guys enjoyed coming along for the ride. Now that all the major offseason moves have occurred, it's time to start synthesizing this discursive information into one, handy post.
Here is the 49ers' schedule next year with brief remarks for each week:
Week One (Sun, Sept. 9): @ Green Bay Packers. Boom. Right off the proverbial bat, the schedule comes out swinging, and the 49ers will want to hit a homerun, or it's three strikes and you're out. But mixed sports clichés aside, this game will be billed as an early look at the NFC Playoffs. Even though it will really be too early in the season to make such statements, I think this is still a conservative guess: both teams probably will be in the playoffs. That said, so much can change in the course of the season. My under duress prediction: likely a loss.
Week Two (Sun, Sept. 16): vs. Detroit Lions. Jim v. Jim. Need I say more? If you aren't already pumped for this showdown, then, I don't know. Go grow some emotion plants and eat them or something. This game should be intense. Moreover, it will provide a good test for our pass defense following Green Bay. My under duress prediction: likely a win.
More sweet, sweet analysis after the jump.
Week Three (Sun, Sept. 23): @ Minnesota Vikings. This is the type of team that could surprise a couple of teams that are "better," a la the Dolphins last year. There is some serious talent on that roster. Good, young talent. Not much duress for this one: likely a win, but there shall be no resting of the laurels.
Week Four (Sun, Sept. 30): @ New York Jets. We will all get tired of hearing about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named all week, and then, when the whole Lord Voldemort craze is over (don't worry, this will make sense in the future), we will all get tired of hearing about Tim Tebow. In actuality, I think the Jets made some gutsy, boom-or-bust types of picks this draft and I really want to see them play. I also wonder if we will see another "layover for a week back east" thing like last year. Ultimately, I think this is a happy trip east for us with a nice W in the win column.
Week Five (Sun, Oct. 7): vs. Buffalo Bills. Tired of the line of thought that the Bills and the 49ers have basically the same QB - one just makes more money? I sure ain't! The news coverage leading up to this game will be pretty bad. The Bills actually kind of scare me. I think they improved big time this offseason and were probably better last year than their record indicates. I still think this goes in the win column, but I won't be placing any bets on this one.
Week Six (Sun, Oct. 14): vs. New York Giants. Sorry guys, but I think this one goes in the loss column. The Giants got better in just about every way they needed to. Unless our newly signed ex-Giants have some delicious insider information (pro-tip: they don't), I think that they might just be slightly better than us. Now this is a borderline pick - so let me be a wimp and hedge my bet on this one a bit. I recognize that they are coming across country and all, but I think this is a very close game we lose.
Week Seven (Thurs, Oct. 18): vs. Seattle Seahawks. Finally, we get our first NFC West game. Or, rather, I should acknowledge that I am happy we wait this long to get our first NFC West game. The beginning of the schedule is pretty brutal (actually, the whole schedule this year is tough) and if we fall behind in the beginning of the year, we still have a lot of games in the division for catch up. I like our chances against Seattle at home: win.
Week Eight (Mon, Oct. 29): @ Arizona Cardinals. Just like the week before with Seattle, I like our chances in this game. I do think the Cardinals had a pretty good draft; and I can see how this team has a lot of the pieces to do well - but I can also spot a lot of the team's flaws that could plague them for a long time: mainly, QB and o-line. I think we beat them.
Week Nine: Bye Week. In which we all wander through life in a dazed stupor, wondering where the 49ers went and why our Sunday feels oddly open. Maybe we can all start watching, like, The Bourne Identity at the same exact time and instead of having an open game day thread, we have an open awesomely epic movie day thread. Or, you know, we could talk to people who aren't on the internet.
Week Ten (Sun, Nov. 11): vs. St. Louis Rams. I'm scared of the Rams. The 2015 Rams. But the 2012 Rams? Not so much. I think we will this game - but afterward we collectively recognize that the Rams have the pieces in place and the draft picks in stock to become really good. As stated above: win.
Week Eleven (Mon, Nov. 19): vs. Chicago Bears. Perhaps I'm crazy, but this just sort of feels like a game the 49ers will lose. There's always that one home game in which the home team just sort of drops the ball. If the Bears had done more to upgrade the o-line, then this would be almost an automatic loss for the 49ers in my book. As it stands right now, I think the Bears added enough offensive firepower to force the 49ers into an uncomfortable shootout. Another under duress moment: loss.
Week Twelve (Sun, Nov. 25): @ New Orleans Saints. Not only is this an epic rematch of a most epically epic game, but it is also an excuse to pretend that the 49ers are all superheroes defeating the villainous Saints for their evil bounty ways. It's only justice, Saints. I'm sorry (okay, I'm not sorry) but you have to lose. Also, you're a worse team than us, especially after new penalties for the team and players.
Week Thirteen (Sun, Dec. 2): @ St. Louis Rams. I do think we sweep them this year.
Week Fourteen (Sun, Dec. 9): vs. Miami Dolphins. This is another dangerous team that can do some serious damage. They knocked a few teams out last season. I think our phoenix down is the fact that we are home. Prediction: win.
Week Fifteen (Sun, Dec 16): @ New England Patriots. As much as I would love to beat the Pats, I just don't see it. Now, if they were in San Francisco, then that would be an entirely different story. Going to New England in the winter, though, is just hard for every team. Plus, I think they did do enough on the defensive side of the ball to constitute a greater threat than last year. Unfortunate prediction because I sort of dislike smug Patriots fans: loss.
Week Sixteen (Sun, Dec. 23): @ Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks, I think, represent the greatest threat to our newly established hegemony in the NFC West. They've been quietly stocking up on talent the last couple of years. While I'm not sold on the QB or the coaching situation up in Seattle, I do think we probably lose this game on the road. This is a tough stadium for playing football.
Week Seventeen (Sun, Dec. 30): vs. Arizona Cardinals. I think we probably sweep the Cardinals as well. Prediction: win.
So, that brings the grand tally up to 11-5. Not a bad season at all. It probably gives us the division too. That said, going 5-1 in the division is really tough, and I would not be surprised if we take a loss against Arizona, dragging my prediction down to 10-6. Though, this record would still probably net us the division.
Be sure to post your predictions in the comments. Also, bookmark this page so that we can tease each other's predictions in sixth months.