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Prediction time for the second half of the 49ers schedule

The San Francisco 49ers have nine games to play following their bye. We take a look at how that might shake out with game-by-game predictions.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers head into their bye week having completed just about half their schedule. They have played seven games, and have nine remaining before the playoffs hopefully arrive for them.

I realize technically this is not the halfway point of the season, but with the 49ers heading into their bye, I figured I would treat it as sufficiently halfway. As such, I wanted to do some mid-season assessments. I'll have a look at each positional unit over the next five or six days, but first, we might as well open with predictions for the second half of the schedule.

I went through all nine games, and while I am not completely sold on some of these, I have the 49ers going 8-1. This is based on the team getting healthy over the bye with Patrick Willis, Mike Iupati, Chris Culliver and Jimmie Ward, and getting the rust off Tramaine Brock. The Giants game is one that I view as a bit of a wild card matchup. The Giants are incredibly inconsistent this season, but they always strike me as dangerous enough, and a potential thorn in the 49ers side.

All in all, this is my optimistic view of the 49ers second half. They entered this season knowing they would be short-handed for a significant stretch. They head into the second half of the season with a chance to regroup and come out stronger for it. Maybe they stumble the rest of the way, but I'm optimistic.

Week 9 vs. St. Louis Rams: We are hoping to hear some kind of word on Aldon Smith's potential return. John Clayton reported he was hearing the 49ers would get Aldon back by Week 9, cutting his suspension to 7 games. If that happens, we are likely to hear about it before the end of the week. I suppose it could happen early next week as well. Whether Aldon Smith plays or not, this is a must-win game for the 49ers. They beat them in St. Louis, and with Arizona playing solid football, the 49ers cannot afford to drop a home divisional game

Prediction: Win

Week 10 @ New Orleans Saints: If the 49ers have Aldon Smith back in the lineup for this game, this becomes that much more interesting. I do think the 49ers can go into New Orleans and get a win without Smith, but this win is operating under the potential of an Aldon return. The Saints are just not that good this year. They're going to win plenty of home games, but this is a year for the 49ers to go into the Superdome and get a win.

Prediction: Win

Week 11 @ New York Giants: I think the 49ers win this game, but as I said above, it's a wild card type of game. The 49ers are much better than the Giants, but New York has shown enough spunk at times to be worrisome. Of course, with Aldon Smith back for this game even if the suspension is not shortened, it could be a long day for Eli Manning.

Prediction: Win

Week 12 vs. Washington: We might actually see Robert Griffin III back in the saddle for this game. He got to play the 49ers last season at FedEx Field, and it was not pretty for him. If he was back in the lineup for Week 12, I would not expect things to change all that much. Washington has talent on the roster, but overall, they're just not that good.

Prediction: Win

Week 13 vs Seattle Seahawks (Thanksgiving): The long awaited first 49ers-Seahawks matchup since the NFC title game. Both teams will be playing on a short week, so we'll see if we get some ugly football out of it. The 49ers have a solid record at home against the Seahawks, and given how tight this division could be down the stretch, this is a must win.

Prediction: Win

Week 14 @ Oakland Raiders: The Raiders are actually playing decent football under Tony Sparano, but they're still limited in talent. Upsets happen, but the 49ers could be at or close to full strength, with NaVorro Bowman potentially back on the field. The 49ers need to dominate this one.

Prediction: Win

Week 15 @ Seattle Seahawks: I'd love to see the 49ers go into CenturyLink Field and get a victory, but I'm just not holding my breath. The Seahawks are obviously not the same team this year as last year. And who knows how the Percy Harvin trade will impact as the season wears on. And yet, I will assume a loss in this one, and hope for the best. Much can change between now and then, so we'll see how these two teams develop as they get healthier.

Prediction: Loss

Week 16 vs. San Diego Chargers (Saturday): This could be a potential Super Bowl preview. The 49ers have to get things going, but if the Chargers can rebound from their loss to the Chiefs, they're in position to challenge the Broncos in the AFC West. The 49ers will be playing on a slightly shorter week with the rare Saturday matchup. Considering this will be following a game up in Seattle, who knows what shape the 49ers will be in.

Prediction: Win

Week 17 vs. Arizona Cardinals: The upside to a Saturday Week 16 matchup is it gives the 49ers an extra day to prepare for the Cardinals in their season finale. There is a lot of football left to be played, but given how Arizona is playing, this could very well end up being for the division title.

Prediction: Win