49ers 2020 schedule: Game-by-game predictions for Weeks 1 to 17
Week 1 vs. Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray is a tough puzzle to solve. The 49ers' defense again struggles to corral the talented quarterback, allowing him to score four times (three passing, one rush) and total 370 yards.
But Jimmy Garoppolo puts on his cape and rides to the rescue, hitting Deebo Samuel for an 18-yard touchdown to tie the game with five seconds left. Garoppolo correctly calls heads during overtime and leads the 49ers right down the field, hitting Jalen Hurd for a 19-yard score to spark a party at Levi's.
Final: 49ers 35, Cardinals 28
Week 2 at New York Jets
The 49ers enjoy seeing old friend Frank Gore when they visit the Meadowlands, and what a pleasant visit it is.
Year 3 of the Sam Darnold era looks much like the first two for Gang Green. Darnold turns the ball over four times (two fumbles, two interceptions) and is booed off the field as the 49ers romp to an impressive win in the Big Apple.
Final: 49ers 30, Jets 13
Week 3 at New York Giants
One offseason wasn't enough for Danny Dimes to turn into a franchise quarterback.
Saquon Barkley gets his, but the 49ers spend the day slamming Jones into the turf, making Joe Judge wonder why he ever left the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium to coach this motley crew.
George Kittle has himself a day at the Meadowlands, catching seven passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the Big Apple beatdown.
Final: 49ers 31, Giants 14
Week 4 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Birds flock in from the City of Brotherly Love and it's an absolute embarrassment.
Carson Wentz fumbles the opening snap, it's picked up by Fred Warner and returned for a touchdown. From there, things go from bad to worse. The 49ers' offense picks apart the Eagles' defense, with Deebo Samuel totaling 170 yards and Jimmy Garoppolo throwing four touchdowns as Philadelphia is helpless to solve Kyle Shanahan's offense.
Wentz, meanwhile, turns the ball over five times and throws for just 110 yards before being benched for Jalen Hurts. After the loss, Doug Pederson announces Hurts will be the team's starter going forward.
Final: 49ers 38, Eagles 10
Week 5 vs. Miami Dolphins
The rebuilding Dolphins are no match for the class of the NFC.
Jimmy Garoppolo torches the Fins, throwing for 342 yards and three touchdowns. The Dolphins play it safe with rookie Tua Tagovailoa and let Ryan Fitzpatrick take the beating from Nick Bosa and Co.
Garoppolo caps off his performance by hitting a wide-open Brandon Aiyuk for a 49-yard touchdown. If only that pass had been on the money in February in Miami.
Final: 49ers 34, Dolphins 13
Week 6 vs. Los Angeles Rams (Sunday Night Football)
Sean McVay shows up to Levi's Stadium with a scouting report on Trevor Lawrence tucked inside a copy of "The Alchemist." He quickly slams the book shut as Jared Goff strolls by before slapping his quarterback on the back and giving him his full confidence, tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Goff opens the game by going right down the field and hitting Cooper Kupp for an 8-yard touchdown. McVay curses under his breath, not wanting the tank to be jeopardized.
Not to worry, the 49ers roll from there as Deebo Samuel scores two touchdowns and George Kittle adds a pair of his own in a romp over their division rival.
On the bus back to the hotel, McVay huddles in the back to watch film of Clemson's latest win, dreaming of what could be.
Final: 49ers 34, Rams 17
Week 7 at New England Patriots
With Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, we miss out on the master vs. apprentice showdown.
But Bill Belichick is the ultimate Sith Lord and he knows every one of Garoppolo's weaknesses. Still boiling from being forced to deal Garoppolo -- the quarterback he wanted to take over for Brady -- Belichick orchestrates a defensive masterclass, forcing Garoppolo to throw three interceptions before whispering tales of the dark side into his former quarterback's ear after the Patriots stun the 49ers.
Final: Patriots 20, 49ers 10
Week 8 at Seattle Seahawks
After coming up 1 yard shy of the NFC West crown a season ago, the Seahawks make sure to finish off their game-winning drive this time.
Trailing 27-23, Russell Wilson drives the Seahawks 65 yards in 1:46 down to the 1-yard line. This time, the playcall is received loud and clear. Marshawn Lynch, with Skittles in his handwarmer, takes the carry and runs right through rookie Javon Kinlaw, giving the Seahawks a 30-27 lead with nine seconds remaining.
As Skittles rain down on CenturyLink Field, Lynch hops in the golf cart and rides into the sunset. Pete Carroll hopes he makes it to practice on Monday.
Final: Seahawks 30, 49ers 27
Week 9 vs. Green Bay Packers (Thursday Night Football)
Aaron Rodgers had a bad time by the Bay last season. That trend continues in 2020.
The Packers enter Levi's with the same team that got blown out twice last season, and the results are more or less the same. Rodgers is sacked four times and throws two interceptions as the his receivers fail to separate against the 49ers' defensive backs.
Brandon Aiyuk catches four passes for 82 yards and two scores. After the game, Rodgers quips he'd love to throw to a receiver like Aiyuk, who the 49ers stole from the Packers in the draft. Maybe he'll finish his career throwing touchdowns to Aiyuk by the Bay?
Final: 49ers 28, Packers 14
Week 10 at New Orleans Saints
The 49ers rolled into the Big Easy and won a shootout with the Saints last season, thanks to George Kittle's earth-shaking catch-and-run.
The Saints come out on the other end of the duel in the rematch. Drew Brees gets the ball down four with 2:10 remaining and drives the Saints 77 yards, capping it off with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders, setting off a party in the Superdome.
The 49ers will head into their bye week following the game in New Orleans.
Final: Saints 34, 49ers 30
Week 12 at Los Angeles Rams
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The Rams are just 18 months removed from a Super Bowl berth, but clearly are headed toward a rebuild and are worlds behind the 49ers.
Nick Bosa spends the day tormenting Goff. He records 2.5 sacks and can be heard chanting, "JAAAAAARRRREEDDDD" while chasing the Rams quarterback around.
Sean McVay has to hit the beer stand at halftime of this one, and not just because he's forced to watch Trent Williams pancake members of his defensive line all day.
Final: 49ers 35, Rams 14
Week 13 vs. Buffalo Bills (Monday Night Football)
The Bills might have the most talented roster in the AFC East now that Tom Brady is gone, but don't crown them just yet.
Josh Allen spends his afternoon in the Bay running for his life and picking the turf out of his helmet. Allen completes just 9-of-25 passes and throws two interceptions, including a pick-six to Richard Sherman who wants to know why people thought the 49ers needed to draft a cornerback after another dominating win.
Final: 49ers 24, Bills 10
Week 14 vs. Washington
Ron Rivera has enjoyed watching Chase Young early in his Washington career. The rest of his team? Not so much.
Rivera's team arrives at Levi's and the blowout is on early, with Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman combining for 175 yards and three touchdowns. Young sacks Garoppolo twice but there's not much to write home about for Washington, which makes Kyle Shanahan a very happy man.
Final: 49ers 34, Washington 10
Week 15 at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday Night Football)
Kyle Shanahan could have drafted CeeDee Lamb in the first round. But he chose Javon Kinlaw and claimed they had Brandon Aiyuk even with Lamb as the top receiver in the class.
Lamb makes the 49ers pay for passing on him, as the Cowboys' deadly offenses busts out every trick in the book to try and send a message to the rest of the NFC. Lamb catches eight passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, while Ezekiel Elliott rushes for 155 yards and two scores in a romp at Jerry World.
Final: Cowboys 31, 49ers 17
Week 16 at Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray was a thorn in the 49ers' side last season, and the Cardinals electric young quarterback has taken a leap in Year 2.
That's bad news Robert Saleh's defense.
Murray cements himself as the MVP frontrunner by throwing for three scores and rushing for another in the Cardinals' upset win over the NFC West kings. Afterward, Kyle Shanahan admits Murray is "going to be a problem" for years to come.
Final: Cardinals 31, 49ers 27
Week 17 vs. Seattle Seahawks
As evenly matched as they ever were, the Seahawks arrive at Levi's Stadium and an old-school brawl kicks off.
Seattle draws first blood when Tre Flowers picks off Jimmy Garoppolo and takes it to the house on the first possession of the game. The 49ers answer when Deebo Samuel takes an end around 22 yards to pay dirt.
The teams trade blows deep into the night, with Russell Wilson diving into the end zone to give Seattle a late 28-27 lead. But Garoppolo has a little magic left up his sleeve.
On third-and-12 from their own 24, Garoppolo avoids a sack and hits Brandon Aiyuk for a 45-yard gain down to the Seattle 31. After another 10-yard completion, this one to George Kittle, Robbie Gould lines up and drills a 38-yard field goal as time expires.
Walking off the field, Pete Carroll promises the Seahawks will get the last laugh come playoff time.
Final: 49ers 30, Seahawks 28
49ers' Final Record: 11-5
The 49ers losing two of their last three games likely puts them out of contention for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but their 11-5 record easily should qualify them for a second consecutive playoff appearance.
Can they take home their sixth Lombardi Trophy in Tampa Bay, Fla. come February? Time will tell.