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49ers schedule predictions 2017: ESPN opposing writers don’t expect much

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We’re back to see how opposing writers view the 49ers. ESPN’s staff projections are not pretty.

The 2017 NFL schedule release means way too many way too early predictions. Earlier today, I joined in and offered up a 6-10 projection based on my first gut instinct.

Now, we’re back for a tradition I started a couple years back. ESPN has each of their 32 team writers put together immediate predictions on the schedule. The 49ers have been pretty bad the last couple years, so it is amusing to see how few wins the various opponent writers project for the team.

Last year, every opponent’s writer predicted the 49ers would lose against their given team. 0-16 seemed ridiculous, but the 49ers weren’t all that much better than it. The year before, the 49ers opponents’ writers had the 49ers going 4-12. Again, not too far off.

This year, we see an improvement from last year’s 0-16 prediction. The Jacksonville Jaguars writer sees the 49ers winning that game in Santa Clara. Other than that, the writers are projecting nothing but losses, and a 1-15 season. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch face a lengthy rebuilding process, but will it start off with this kind of season?

Week 1: vs. Carolina Panthers - LOSS

The schedule makers may be taunting Rivera a bit with this one. Yes, Carolina may be reminded of Super Bowl 50 with its first return to Levi’s Stadium since losing the title game. But the rebuilding 49ers will remind no one of the Broncos, making this an almost sure Carolina win even if quarterback Cam Newton’s shoulder isn’t 100 percent.

Week 2: @ Seattle Seahawks - LOSS

It'll be the fourth different 49ers coach in four years leading San Francisco into CenturyLink Field. The last time the Seahawks faced an offense directed by Kyle Shanahan, the Atlanta Falcons dropped 36 on Seattle in the divisional round of the playoffs. But Shanahan obviously doesn't have the same level of talent to work with in his first season in San Francisco.

Week 3: vs. Los Angeles Rams - LOSS

Last year, the 49ers embarrassed the Rams in a season-opening game on Monday Night Football. The 49ers won two games in 2016, and both came against the Rams, the last one on the strength of an impressive comeback at the Coliseum. The 49ers, now under Kyle Shanahan, will continue to be bad. The Rams should be better against them.

Week 4: @ Arizona Cardinals - LOSS

There usually isn't a better way to recover from a loss than by hosting a team that's struggled and is just four games into a first season with their new coach. Arizona will return to its winning ways.

Week 5: @ Indianapolis Colts - LOSS

Running back Frank Gore faces the team he spent the first 10 years of his NFL career with. Gore may not rush for 100 yards against the 49ers, but he’ll make his presence felt.

Week 6: @ Washington - LOSS

There’s no doubt the ultra-competitive Kyle Shanahan would love to hang a big point total on his old team. But Shanahan, in his first season with the 49ers, lacks the firepower he had in Atlanta last season. Former Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon returns, but in this battle of ex-Michigan State quarterbacks (Cousins and Brian Hoyer), there’s a big edge for the home team.

Week 7: vs. Dallas Cowboys - LOSS

A year ago, the Cowboys were down 14-0 to the Niners after two series, but they left with a 24-17 win. Kyle Shanahan has taken over for Chip Kelly and has Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley as his quarterbacks at the moment. The San Francisco rebuild will take some time.

Week 8: @ Philadelphia Eagles - LOSS

What could have been. When the Eagles 2017 opponents were determined back in December, Chip Kelly was still the Niners' head coach. This would have been his glorious return to Philly. Instead, it's Kyle Shanahan at the controls of a franchise trying to regain its footing.

Week 9: vs. Arizona Cardinals - LOSS

And yet again, the Cardinals find themselves facing the 49ers after a loss, this time after a bye and on the road. Arizona will be refreshed and take it out on San Francisco.

Week 10: vs. New York Giants - LOSS

The 49ers' roster is bad. This is a third straight win for the Giants. They're streaking.

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: vs. Seattle Seahawks - LOSS

It'll be a short week for the Seahawks, but they've won six in a row against the 49ers. The streak continues with a sweep in 2017.

Week 13: @ Chicago Bears - LOSS

The Niners have become the Cleveland Browns of the West Coast. The Bears crushed the 49ers 26-6 in sloppy conditions at Soldier Field in 2016. Chicago won't need a scouting report on new San Francisco quarterback Brian Hoyer, since he just played for the Bears.

Week 14: @ Houston Texans - LOSS

Much like the Browns, the 49ers are in a rebuilding mode. The Texans' defense will dominate whoever is starting at quarterback for San Francisco in this game.

Week 15: vs. Tennessee Titans - LOSS

The Titans get the second one too, after finding a nice place to accommodate them for a week on the road. Even if the 49ers have a fantastic draft, new coach Kyle Shanahan inherited a thin roster and runs a system that takes time to click. The 49ers will be well on their way to a high draft pick when the Titans visit Levi Stadium for the first time.

Week 16: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars - WIN

t's logical to think the Jaguars will win this game because the 49ers aren't very good, but the Jaguars have really struggled on the West Coast. They've lost eight consecutive road games in the Pacific time zone dating to a 13-6 victory over Oakland in the final game of the 2004 season. That's the longest active losing streak among teams that are based in the Eastern time zone. They've lost those games by an average of 20.9 points, and the teams they've lost to haven't exactly been juggernauts. Only three went on to finish with winning records, and only one (eventual Super Bowl champ Seattle in 2013) won more than nine games.

Week 17: @ Los Angeles Rams - LOSS

One shot, at home, against the lowly 49ers, to capture their first non-losing season since 2006? The Rams get it done.