Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown (25) celebrates with teammates including Patrick Willis (52) after recovering a fumble by Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) in the third quarter in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

How Many Games Will The 49ers Win Next Season?


For a second straight campaign, the San Francisco 49ers avoided catastrophic injuries to their stars as they seized the NFC West title.

Repeating their regular season success in 2013 will be no guarantee, particularly since the roster’s once-overwhelming depth was purged in free agency.  But 13 picks in the upcoming draft will help plug the holes (along with several impact veteran additions), so despite the improvements of NFC West rivals, it’s still ill-advised to bet against San Francisco.

Here is my take of the 49ers schedule.  Do not rely on my selections for sports gambling:

Week 1 – vs. Green Bay Packers

Many Packers fans shook their head when they laid eyes on the new schedule.  The 49ers dismantled their defense in the 2012 season opener at Lambeau Field (averaging 6.1 yards per play with an Alex Smith-led offense) and again in the Divisional Playoffs, when Colin Kaepernick gutted out his iconic record-breaking run.  Aaron Rodgers can’t play defense (right?), so San Francisco and their prideful fans will continue to torment the cheese heads.  Advantage: 49ers

Week 2 – at Seattle Seahawks

The 49ers and Seahawks engaged in an arms race this offseason, acquiring Pro Bowl wide receivers (Anquan Boldin, Percy Harvin), big name, aging cornerbacks (Nnamdi Asomugha, Antoine Winfield), and professional clipboard holders (Colt McCoy, Brady Quinn), among other things.  Seattle will never live down their 42-13 red and gold beatdown from their last meeting in 2012, so unless Russell Wilson sleeps in and misses the game, the Seahawks’ confidence and home field advantage will be apparent.  Advantage: Seahawks

Week 3 – vs. Indianapolis Colts

The 49ers and Colts are unfamiliar with each other, having last played in 2009 (a 14-18 San Francisco loss in Indianapolis) while both rosters have been completely overhauled.  This year’s faceoff will feature an intriguing quarterback matchup, but the 49ers defense will likely produce a couple turnovers off Andrew Luck to seal the deal.  Advantage: 49ers

Week 4 – at St. Louis Rams

Those pesky 2012 Rams tied(!) and beat the 49ers in weeks 10 and 13 respectively, in large part to efficient play by Sam Bradford, who totaled 52 completions on 78 attempts (66.7 % accuracy) for 496 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.  Bradford has been plagued with ankle injuries and a mild case of David Carr-Syndrome since being drafted first overall in 2010, but performances like his own against the 49ers last season prove the former Sooner possesses the intangibles to be a franchise signal caller.  For one day, when the crowd means everything on a short week, St. Louis will forget Kurt Warner.  Advantage: Rams

Week 5 – vs. Houston Texans

Will the real Matt Schaub stand up?  Is he the man who racked 527 passing yards and five touchdowns against the Jaguars last November, or is he the man who wilted under pressure and allowed his squad to get steamrolled by the Patriots twice?  Is that T.J. Yates warming up?  Advantage: 49ers

Week 6 – vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals will come to town with a legit quarterback in Carson Palmer, but the same old shoddy front five (Arizona fans should pray they use every draft pick on the offensive line) will struggle, so the Smith duo could have a field day when the birds are forced to play from behind early.  Advantage: 49ers

Week 7 – at Tennessee Titans

Delanie Walker will face his old teammates for the first time, so hopefully he appreciates the pay raise ($17.5 million over four years) and increased offensive role (same goes for Ted Ginn Jr.), because wins will be lacking all season in the Music City.  Advantage: 49ers

Week 8 – at Jacksonville Jaguars

The biggest question isn’t who will win, but who will be starting under center for the Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert?  Chad Henne?  Geno Smith?  None of the above?  Advantage: 49ers

Week 10 – vs. Carolina Panthers

The 49ers will be freshly rested off a bye week, while the Panthers will be limping to Candlestick after a tussle with the Falcons, so San Francisco may overwhelm Jon Beason and company.  Advantage: 49ers

November 25, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) signals against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 49ers defeated the Saints 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Week 11 – at New Orleans Saints

San Francisco’s defense, not Kaepernick’s arm, dominated their 2012 confrontation (four interceptions, five sacks) as the 49ers went on to win 31-21 in the Superdome in week 12.  This time, coach Sean Payton will grace the sidelines and steer Drew Brees from shooting himself in the toe, but a leaky defense that’s hardly been addressed will seal their demise.  Advantage: 49ers

Week 12 – at Washington Redskins

How do you stop a multidimensional quarterback like Robert Griffin III?  A) Spear tackle Griffin in his knee by leading with the crown of your helmet, or B) study your own multifaceted thrower, and borrow a few pages from the Ravens’ defensive schemes.  Patrick Willis will handle the rest.   Advantage: 49ers

Week 13 – vs. St. Louis Rams

At some point (like week 13), the 49ers will realize their star-studded roster should be bullying the Rams game-in and game-out.  Coach Jim Harbaugh will prepare his team by promoting the tone of a playoff match.  Advantage: 49ers

Week 14 – vs. Seattle Seahawks

The adrenaline rush from skinning the Rams will carry over to this week, when a seagull or 60 flying above Candlestick will squawk for mercy.  For the record, there is no place like home.  Advantage: 49ers

Week 15 – at Tampa Bay

The hype is on Darrelle Revis, but all attention should be focused on Josh Freeman.  Following a stellar rookie year, the Buccaneers quarterback’s decision making and accuracy regressed in 2011 and 2012, so his development is vital for the direction of his team.  The last time Freeman faced the 49ers, San Francisco curb stomped Tampa Bay 48-3, so it’s possible the memory still lingers.  (Dashon Goldson surely remembers).  Advantage: 49ers

Week 16 – vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons will recall their stinging NFC Championship loss when they rematch the 49ers on Monday night.  Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense will hold nothing back (including Steven Jackson’s carries), while the San Francisco players save their last laugh for the playoffs.  Advantage: Falcons

Week 17 – at Arizona Cardinals

If the 49ers lock up their playoff seed by the finale, this will be a contest of second and third stringers versus the Cardinals’ starters (pride is everything for Arizona).  San Francisco can relate to the feeling of losing a Super Bowl, so perhaps they pack it in this time as a compassionate gesture.  Advantage: Cardinals

Projected 2013 Record: 12 W, 4 L, 0 T

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