COMMENTARY | The San Francisco 49ers have sky-high expectations entering the 2013-14 NFL season.
After coming up short in the Super Bowl last season, the 49ers hope to make a return trip back to the big game, only to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy this time around. But before the reigning NFC champions can think about the playoffs, they must navigate through the gauntlet of the regular season first.
How will San Francisco fare this year?
Below are early predictions for each regular-season contest:
Week 1, Sept. 8: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers won two games against Green Bay last season (including the playoffs). Kicking off 2013, Colin Kaepernick and Co. run by the Packers once again in their home opener.
Week 2, Sept. 15: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks: After getting humiliated on national television last year in Seattle, the 49ers exact revenge on their NFC West rival. Jim Harbaugh's squad inches by the Seahawks in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, silencing the raucous 12th Man crowd.
Week 3, Sept. 22: Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers: An up-and-coming Colts team marches into Candlestick Park and puts up a valiant effort. But, ultimately, the 49ers make just enough plays on defense to slow down Andrew Luck to come out with the victory.
Week 4, Sept. 26: San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams: The stingy Rams may be young, but they have emerging talent on both sides of the ball. Led by Sam Bradford and linebacker James Laurinaitis, St. Louis gets the best of San Francisco in their first meeting together.
Week 5, Oct. 6: Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers: After suffering a tough defeat in St. Louis, the 49ers rebound at home against a formidable Texans team. San Francisco's offensive line holds J.J. Watt in-check, while Kaepernick and his wideouts make enough plays through the air to claim their fourth win.
Week 6, Oct. 13: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers: While the Cardinals made vast improvements in the offseason, it won't be enough as the 49ers win by double-digit points. Anquan Boldin faces his former team for the second time in his career, and he comes through with some big receptions.
Week 7, Oct. 20: San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans: The 49ers will get their second look at Chris Johnson, who ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns against them back in 2009. But this time around, Patrick Willis and the front-seven contain the home-run threat.
Week 8, Oct. 27: San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars: Squaring off in London, the 49ers' talent proves to be too much for the Jaguars to handle. Harbaugh's club wins in convincing fashion across the pond.
Week 9, Nov. 3: Bye
Week 10, Nov. 10: Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers: Cam Newton may be a premium dual-threat passer, but the lack of weapons at his disposal hurts him in this matchup. Aldon Smith and the defense put constant heat on the third-year quarterback, securing their fifth-straight win.
Week 11, Nov. 17: San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints: The 49ers have defeated the Saints in two-consecutive matchups, stemming from their divisional round showdown in 2012. But the third time's the charm for Drew Brees and his high-flying offense, as the Saints take care of business in front of their home fans.
Week 12, Nov. 25: San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins: One of the game's most exciting players in Robert Griffin III and the 49ers will do battle under the bright lights of Monday night. In the end, though, Kaepernick and his teammates come out on top in the back-and-forth showdown.
Week 13, Dec. 1: St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers: After losing their first matchup against St. Louis, the 49ers rebound and take one at home. The Rams keep the game close once again, but Frank Gore leads the way to a San Francisco victory.
Week 14, Dec. 8: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers: Russell Wilson and the Seahawks refuse to get swept by their arch rivals. Seattle lives up to that proclamation, stealing a "W" in the Bay.
Week 15, Dec. 15: San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The 49ers head East where they'll take on a rising Bucs squad. Despite the long flight, the front-seven does enough to slow down star running back Doug Martin to capture the win.
Week 16, Dec. 23: Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers: Matt Ryan and his Falcons remember their NFC championship game defeat at the hands of the 49ers. This time around, Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez head into Candlestick to edge out the 49ers.
Week 17, Dec. 29: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals: The 49ers end the regular season on a high note. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald keep the game in reach, but Kaepernick comes through in the clutch, giving San Francisco its 12th win of the year.
Travis Chan is a lifelong follower of the San Francisco 49ers. He is currently covering the team on the Yahoo Contributor Network.
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- San Francisco 49ers
- San Francisco