Last year, I didn’t get in on this schedule predicting business. Quite simply I just assumed the San Francisco 49ers would be bad, but I also knew they provided some use. Predicting that madness was like predicting how much I can make counting cards playing blackjack: It’s impossible, I do it all the time, and it always ends with me flat broke and waking up in a gutter somewhere.
Still, the 49ers have not lost a game since December. With that, I have been provided the motivation to predict all these games. There is no science behind these picks, looking for such can only cure your madness, but here they are, my predictions for this season.
Week 1: @ Minnesota Vikings LOSS - The Vikings were one quarterback away from going to the Super Bowl, they got that one quarterback the 49ers were going to get before Jimmy Garoppolo put a welcome jam into things. Beyond Case Keenum remembering he was Case Keenum at the worst time, that roster is stacked and may be primed for a collision with the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs. The 49ers are not a quarterback away—they took care of that problem. But they are an edge-rusher, middle-linebacker, and an interior offensive line away from getting there. Soon folks, soon.
Week 2: vs. Detroit Lions WIN - The Lions have no run game, something the 49ers defense actually got better at stopping last year. They also have finicky wide receivers and a new coach’s defensive scheme. 49ers win this one.
Week 3: @ Kansas City Chiefs LOSS - This is two weeks after Patrick Mahomes begins his first season as the unquestioned starter. If history is any indication, this is when teams will get film on him and he can begin his growing pains. If this was two games later on the schedule, I’d definitely say it’s a win. But not in Week 3.
Week 4: @ Los Angeles Chargers WIN - It’s a road game, but it’s a road game in Los Angeles. A Los Angeles that the Chargers have been in for one year and failed at selling out stadiums. A Los Angeles that hasn’t had football teams for years and has plenty of 49ers fans. Plus the Chargers won’t be good this year.
Week 5: vs. Arizona Cardinals WIN - Arizona is going into a rebuild with Sam Bradford at quarterback. While they have some explosive playmakers, they have a first-year head coach and actually struggled against the 49ers last year. In Arizona. With Brian Hoyer under center for the 49ers.
Week 6: @ Green Bay Packers (MNF) WIN - You call me a homer all you want, but the Packers are on a downswing. So much dysfunction going on with the coaching staff and Aaron Rodgers, I feel it will trickle into the season.
Week 7: vs. Los Angeles Rams (SNF) LOSS - I’d give this a win, given that Sean McVay may be figured out (Tony Sparano had a hell of a first season with the Miami Dolphins and we know how that ended). I didn’t like the way the Rams lost to the Atlanta Falcons last year and would predict a regression...that is if they didn’t have such a nasty defense.
Week 8: @ Arizona Cardinals WIN - Sam Bradford probably will be IRed by this point.
Week 9: vs. Oakland Raiders (TNF) WIN - Raiders are going to need more with Jon Gruden. They are on par with the 49ers as far as roster and ability, but I think they can get right by.
Week 10: vs. New York Giants (MNF) WIN - Every year the Giants try to tell the world they are good, and they either limp into the playoffs or get pounced. They get pounced.
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers LOSS - The Bucs are not sniffing anything with Dirk Koetter as a coach. That said, the 49ers travel to Florida and I think the road will get to them.
Week 13: @ Seattle Seahawks (SNF) WIN - I predicted a two-touchdown win in Seattle before this Richard Sherman business, and I’m sure as hell not going back on my prediction now. It’s one of the few, still alive predictions I hold a thread of hope in (well besides Fooch shaving his beard).
Week 14: vs. Denver Broncos WIN - Denver isn’t winning anything with Vance Joseph as a coach. That defense lost another piece, and they have a quarterback that needs pieces around him (and he only has two aging wide receivers at the moment).
Week 15: vs. Seattle Seahawks WIN - I live in Seattle, they need to beat them both times. The 49ers believe in me. If you can’t beat Seattle for the pride of the division, do it for me.
Week 16: vs. Chicago Bears WIN - Mitchell Trubisky isn’t as bad as everyone wants to make him out to be, and I see big things coming from him in the future. Too bad at present the Bears really don’t have anything at all besides Jordan Howard.
Week 17: @ Los Angeles Rams LOSS - Like Fooch, I’m going with the Rams sweep. I predicted the 49ers to go in as a 5-seed and the Rams would take the division. No matter how exposed Sean McVay can be as a coach and how questionable Jared Goff is as a player, that defense is filthy. The Rams are all in for 2018. I do expect them to Ram ‘it and bounce early in the playoffs, however.
I’m a total homer, 11-5. That’s enough to give them the No. 5 seed and head into the playoffs. I think the 49ers need one more season before they will supplant the Rams. But at least we get to watch fun 49ers games on primetime this year!