The 2015-16 season is a thing of the past, even if there are still technically postseason football games to be played. I'm happy to see Alex Smith get a win for the Kansas City Chiefs and I have some rooting interest in the NFC, but ultimately it's time to LOOK AHEAD and what better way to do that than with ridiculously early, laughably inaccurate predictions?
We're probably not going to spend another offseason embroiled in a Niners Nation war over optimism versus pessimism, but provided the San Francisco 49ers land a somewhat competent head coach -- not a given by any means -- I think there is still plenty of talent on the roster to show some promise.
As such, I'm going to walk through the 49ers' 2016-17 schedule and give 100 percent accurate, completely true factual predictions (not at all accurate, probably false opinion) based upon that schedule. I will say that this is under the assumption that Blaine Gabbert is not the starting quarterback in 2016, because I maintain he has no future as a starter in the league.
New England Patriots: Tom Brady is an alarmingly handsome angel who was ensnared by the evil tear in reality that is Bill Belichick, and while Tommy most certainly wants to play for his favorite 49ers, he instead dominates the NFL for the Belichick and the Patriots. This will not be close, it will not be pretty and I'm already wincing at the upcoming damage to San Francisco's secondary. 38-17 Patriots.
New York Jets: Todd Bowles did an impressive thing, riding Ryan Fitzpatrick's impressive beard all the way to a win-and-in scenario in Week 17. Unfortunately, the Jets lost that game, and didn't make the postseason. Brandon Marshall is still incredibly good at times, and he has a history of destroying some cornerbacks currently on the 49ers' roster. But I think the Jets got lucky more often than naught this season and I'm going to go with a home win for the 49ers. 13-6 49ers.
Dallas Cowboys: [site decorum] the Cowboys. 48-0 49ers.
New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees sure is getting up there in years, and I feel like Sean Payton has lost his grip on that team. I have all the respect in the world for Payton and what he can do, but the Saints seem awful at bringing in fresh, young talent to stimulate either side of the football. I just don't see this team being good again, at least in 2016. 24-17 49ers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I really don't think Jameis Winston is very good at that whole ... football thing. But this game has trap game written all over it. If the 49ers are actually doing well by the time this game comes around, I can see a loss. But it's not a smart prediction. 13-7 49ers.
Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams: The Seahawks have been ridiculous when they have looked like the Seahawks this season. They're going to beat the 49ers big time, along with the Cardinals. Carson Palmer looks like he has enough life left to be a franchise quarterback for a few years and I don't think the 49ers will hang with them. I think the 49ers get a win over the Rams at home, though. Seahawks beat 49ers, 27-10. Cardinals beat 49ers, 31-21. 49ers beat Rams, 20-10.
Buffalo Bills: I think Tyrod Taylor is going to develop into a really good quarterback, provided the Bills give him room to flourish. I also think Rex Ryan is going to lead that team well, and I don't think the 49ers will be able to hang in this one. 20-6 Bills.
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins are serial under-performers and there is no reason to ever pick them over anybody. I do like Ryan Tannehill, though. 17-14 49ers.
Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler is Jay Cutler. The 49ers like intercepting Jay Cutler. 21-9 49ers.
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman are a ridiculous combination. The former is also an amazing dude and he should be named MVP for this season. Whatever the case, the Panthers are just too good. The 49ers don't stand a change. 28-10 Panthers.
Atlanta Falcons: I really like a lot of the Falcons roster, and I think Dan Quinn will make an excellent head coach when it's all said and done. I also think Matt Ryan will trend upward these next few years rather than continue his regression. I think the Falcons bounce back and look like one of the league's best next year. 23-9 Falcons.
Seahawks, Cardinals, Rams: On the road, I think the 49ers get dominated by the Seahawks and I can't see them winning against the Rams, a team that is built solely to beat the NFC West and almost nothing else, on the road. But the Cardinals is my surprise pick for "LOL NFC WEST" game next year. The 49ers will pull out a crazy win as Aaron Lynch feasts on Palmer. Seahawks beat 49ers, 27-17. Rams beat 49ers, 10-3. 49ers beat Cardinals, 21-20.