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Maiocco: 49ers' game-by-game predictions for 17-game slate

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The 49ers had the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and defensive end Nick Bosa ended up as a catalyst for the team’s Super Bowl run that season.

This year, the 49ers are not counting on their No. 3 overall pick, quarterback Trey Lance, to place the team on his shoulders.

Even if Lance does not make a significant impact as a rookie, the 49ers still have the roster capable of winning a lot of games and competing for a championship this season.

After a schedule of preseason games that features a matchup against Kansas City at Levi’s Stadium, a road game against the Los Angeles Chargers, and back home against the Las Vegas Raiders, the 49ers dive into their first 17-game regular season scheduled with a pair of road games.

Here is look at the 49ers’ regular-season schedule, along with our knee-jerk predictions:

Week 1: At Detroit

Sunday, Sept. 12, 10 a.m. (FOX)

This is a good omen for the 49ers. The only other two times in franchise history they opened at Detroit, the 49ers capped those seasons with Super Bowl titles. New Lions coach Dan Campbell sent out the warning at his introductory press conference that all opponents should protect their kneecaps. It might be a hard-fought battle, but the 49ers should open this season on a winning note.

Prediction: 49ers 27, Lions 16


Week 2: At Philadelphia

Sunday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. (FOX)

The 49ers open with back-to-back road games and back-to-back first-year head coaches. A trip such as this would seem to lend itself to a weeklong stay on the East Coast. The 49ers liked their stay last season at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. That seems like a reasonable place to take up residence for the week as they prepare to face the Eagles and first-year coach Nick Sirianni. This could be a rough season for the Eagles, and this is a game in which the 49ers should easily take care of business with a lot more certainly than a game of paper-rock-scissors.

Prediction: 49ers 31, Eagles 9

Week 3: Green Bay

Sunday, Sept. 26, 5:30 p.m. (NBC)

The 49ers should like this game. But they will actually Love this game if the Packers have to turn to their second-year quarterback if Aaron Rodgers’ status with the Green Bay organization reaches its Final Jeopardy.

Prediction: 49ers 35, Packers 17

Week 4: Seattle

Sunday, Oct. 3, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)

Regardless of where they play, the 49ers have struggled against the Seahawks over most of the past decade. They get their first big test of the season (as long as Rodgers does not suit up in Week 3), and they pull out the victory in overtime.

Prediction: 49ers 24, Seahawks 21, OT

Week 5: At Arizona

Sunday, Oct. 10, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)

Is this the season the Arizona Cardinals make some noise in the NFC West? Former Houston Texans DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt supply big wattage playmaking ability on both sides of the ball. Bosa will be chasing Kyler Murray around as the Nos. 2 and 1 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft face each other. Murray will be just elusive enough to enable the Cardinals to pull out the victory at the 49ers' home away from home.

Prediction: Cardinals 27, 49ers 24

Week 6: BYE

The 49ers will recharge after five games and get ready for a grueling run of 12 consecutive weeks of games to finish out the regular season.

Week 7: Indianapolis

Sunday, Oct. 24, 5:20 p.m. (NBC)

Carson Wentz was good enough last season to help the Eagles beat the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. He returns this year with a much better supporting cast. This game also marks DeForest Buckner’s first game against his former team. If there’s a Super Bowl preview on the regular-season schedule, this is it.

Prediction: Colts 31, 49ers 28

Week 8: At Chicago

Sunday, Oct. 31, 10 a.m.  (FOX)

The 49ers selected Lance at No. 3 overall in the draft over Justin Fields, whom the Chicago Bears traded up to pick at No. 11. If this game is Lance vs. Fields, we think Lance gives the 49ers the better chance of winning. Heck, if it’s Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Andy Dalton, the 49ers have the distinct advantage, too.


Prediction: 49ers 24, Bears 17

Week 9: Arizona

Sunday Nov. 7, 1:25 p.m.  (FOX)

The 49ers manage the season split against the Cardinals — and you better get used to that theme. The NFC West is the most competitive division in the league. Each team is going to go 3-3 within the division, as they beat up on each other along the way.

Prediction: 49ers 24, Cardinals 17

Week 10: L.A. Rams

Monday, Nov. 15, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Kyle Shanahan has the upper hand over his protege, Sean McVay, with four consecutive head-to-head victories after the Rams won three of the first four games in this matchup. This will be the 49ers’ first meeting against new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, but the 49ers come out of this Monday night game with the decisive win.

Prediction: 49ers 31, Rams 21

Week 11: At Jacksonville

Sunday, Nov. 21, 10 a.m.  (FOX)

With plenty of film to study of the rookie quarterback, first-year defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans will turn up the heat to make Trevor Lawrence as uncomfortable as possible.

Prediction: 49ers 35, Jaguars 10

Week 12: Minnesota

Sunday, Nov. 28, 1:25 p.m.  (FOX)

Both teams have playoff aspirations, so this game sets up as an important matchup. Both teams drafted quarterbacks who could factor into the future. But while it is a long shot Kellen Mond will give Kirk Cousins any kind of challenge, there will be pressure for the 49ers to get Lance onto the field if Garoppolo ever falters.

Prediction: 49ers 24, Vikings 20

Week 13: At Seattle

Sunday, Dec. 5, 5:20 p.m. (NBC)

If this is the final time the 49ers travel to the Pacific Northwest to face Russell Wilson as quarterback of the Seahawks, that’ll be just fine with everyone who reports to work at the team complex in Santa Clara.

Prediction: Seahawks 27, 49ers 17

Week 14: At Cincinnati

Sunday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m.  (CBS)

The only perk of finishing last in the division a year ago is this: While the other teams in the division play at Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, the 49ers hit the road for the most-winnable of those matchups.

Prediction: 49ers 30, Bengals 20

Week 15: Atlanta

Sunday, Dec. 19, 1:05 p.m.  (CBS)

The 49ers go back-to-back with games on the schedule determined by their place in the 2020 standings. Many of the people from Shanahan’s two-year stint as offensive coordinator are no longer around. There is not nearly as much familiarity with this edition the Falcons under first-year coach Arthur Smith.

Prediction: 49ers 33, Falcons 10

Week 16: At Tennessee

Thursday, Dec. 23, 5:20 p.m. (NFLN)

The schedule-maker was not kind to the 49ers here. The 49ers are matched up on a short week against a team they face once every four years. Plus, the 49ers have to travel to the Central time zone. The good news is they don’t have to balance Christmas with getting prepared for an upcoming game.


Prediction: Titans 24, 49ers 20

Week 17: Houston

Sunday, Jan. 2, 1:05 p.m.  (CBS)

At one point, briefly, in the offseason, 49ers fans held out hope Deshaun Watson would be playing for the home team in this matchup. Now, it seems unlikely he’ll be playing for either team — or playing anywhere, for that matter.

Prediction: 49ers 42, Texans 10

Week 18: At L.A. Rams

Sunday, Jan. 9, 1:25 p.m.  (FOX)

The 49ers finish the regular season at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood — exactly where they hope to finish their playoff run, too. This is an intriguing matchup at the venue for Super Bowl LVI. Could the division title be on the line? Playoff seeding? If this game has no bearing on the 49ers’ playoff situation, this sets up as an ideal spot for Lance to start — if he hasn’t already entrenched himself in that role.

Prediction: Rams 27, 49ers 21

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