San Francisco 49ers’ 2013 Season Predictions

sf49ers4PFC Blogger:  Shakeel Khan

Twitter: @shakkhan79

Two years ago, nobody would have thought the Harbaugh era would begin with a 13-3 record and an NFC Championship appearance. The following year, analysts, fans and teams within the league had high hopes for the San Francisco 49ers and they didn’t fail to deliver. The 49ers made it to the Super Bowl and fell short on a controversial 4th down and goal play when a pass from QB Colin Kaepernick was intended for WR Michael Crabtree. I won’t divulge into more specifics since those of you who know me well, are aware of where I stand on the “no call.” Just for the record, yes it was pass interference, on DEFENSE.

Last season wasn’t as impressive (record wise) for the 49ers, finishing 11-4-1 when you compare it to the previous year of 13-3. It’s early in the off-season but one can’t help but analyze the upcoming year, especially with rivals like the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams improving their arsenal – not to forget the Arizona Cardinals who have a new quarterback at the helm in Carson Palmer. Below is the breakdown of the week by week teams the 49ers will face – I will attempt to be UNBIASED and “call it down the line” – which to some, may seem pretty crooked. Okay fine, to most it seems pretty crooked – but what do they know, right?

Week 1 – Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers

This is a rematch of last year’s opener; the difference is that it will be at Candlestick Park instead of Lambeau Field. This is a matchup that I actually like and is in favor of the 49ers. Yes, I am aware that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be coming to town and he is deadly with his passing game. But let’s look at it realistically and let the match up sink in. It’s evident that the Packers are a high powered offense but they lack the major element that gives the 49ers trouble – a stout run game. With the departure of WR Greg Jennings and still no legitimate running attack, the 49ers will win their second consecutive opener against Green Bay.

Look for San Francisco to have a defensive game plan that was similar to last year’s. They will play two safeties over the top and will keep everything in front of their defense (not getting beat deep). They will rely on sound tackling and swarm to the ball – which won’t be easy vs this offense, but definitely doable. Besides, does the Packer’s defense really scare you?

Packers 17 49ers 27

(49ers 1-0)

Week 2 – San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks

Okay, this match up terrifies me, especially because it is so early in the season – the juices will be flowing and this game can set the tone for the remainder of the season (even though it is early). I can assure you that the 49ers did not forget the annihilation they witnessed the last time these two met in Seattle. The 49ers were man-handled and will look for sweet revenge.

The key to this game will be the matchups between Seattle’s secondary verse the 49ers wide receivers. Granted that the 49ers have upgraded the position with newly acquired WR Anquan Boldin and through the draft – but will that be enough? Seattle’s Sherman and Browner are physical corners and usually have their way with most WR’s in the NFL. Pete Carroll’s defense is stingy and discipline – they will be ready for this match up. I believe that they will get the best of the 49ers in this one and win the football game, which will come down to a field goal. I think Crabtree and Boldin will struggle to get open and Lynch will have a big day verse the 49ers defense.

This game will test the character early for coach Harbaugh’s ball club – and I am confident they will respond like true professionals. This will be the best wakeup call the 49ers get.

49ers 17 Seahawks 20

(49ers 1-1)

Week 3 – Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers

Second year quarterback Andrew Luck will be coming to town for the first time in his short career. This will be a good change of pace game for coach Harbaugh and his team. The Colts bring a new offensive scheme than what the 49ers are accustomed to seeing. However, I think the 49ers will have too much offense and defense for the Colts to handle. QB Colin Kaepernick will have a big day against Indianapolis’s front seven – he will have many yards from both throwing and running the ball. Let’s face it, the Colts do not have the same pass rush as they once did with Freeney and Mathis and that guy named Manning won’t be throwing to Reggie Wayne.

RB Frank Gore will rush for over a hundred yards and WR Michael Crabtree will have his first 100 yard game of the season. Patrick Willis Inc, will look to shut down Luck’s offense by playing press coverage on the outside (Nnamdi vs Wayne – ?) and have a heavy pass rush with Aldon and Justin Smith putting pressure on the second year quarterback. This one should be easy since the Colts are outmatched heavily – but you still have to play the game and it is still “any given Sunday.”

The 49ers take this one easily and will have a statement game coming off of a loss to Seattle.

Colts 13 49ers 35

(49ers 2-1)

Week 4 – San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams

Oh boy, another tough NFC West match up for the 49ers relatively early in the season. For those who forget, the Rams are the one team that the 49ers did not beat last season. In case 49ers’ fans have amnesia (including me for a moment), the Rams beat San Francisco in one contest and tied them in the other. Hence, San Francisco were winless last year verse the Rams.

The previous two season, this has been a tough match up for San Francisco. The key to that was ONE football player. Usually one person does not make or break a football team, especially since football is the ultimate team sport, but in this scenario I confidently feel it was the case. RB Steven Jackson was the recipe for success when they played the 49ers. He wore down the front seven of San Francisco’s defense (which isn’t easily done) and the Rams played ball control on offense. Not to mention, position by position, it is a battle up front with the 49ers’ offense and the Rams’ defense. The Rams have done a great job drafting players in the last few years. Their scout team has done terrific work drafting individuals who give trouble to the high profile players that the 49ers have.

I think with the departure of Jackson, the 49ers will start to own this series again. Yes, the Rams have drafted some key players on offense, namely WR Tavon Austin. But San Francisco plays great team defense and do well against small shifty WR’s. QB Sam Bradford has yet to prove he can be an elite quarterback in this league, he has shown some flashes, but nothing is imminent. If the trend continues as history has shown, then Bradford will struggle this year against the 49ers and it will be a 2-0 sweep.

Look for the word “sweep” in my next breakdown when St. Louis comes to San Francisco later in the year.

49ers 27 Rams 10

(49ers 3-1)

Week 5 – Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers

This is another unfamiliar opponent for the 49ers. The Houston Texans are a complete football team. They have an explosive offense and a swarming hard-nosed defense. This game will test the greatness meter for the 49ers. The Texans have a more than capable offense that could put points up in a bunch. The combination of Schaub and Johnson give many defensive coordinators headaches and 49ers’ Vic Fangio will have his hands full. Moreover, when healthy, RB Arian Foster is considered to be in the upper echelons within the running back class.

Kaepernick will have to have one of those spectacular performances that we have seen him deliver in the past. I would suggest over 300 yards total from scrimmage (passing and running combined) with no turnovers. The 49ers will have to match the offensive fire power of the Texans, which they are competent enough to do.

This can go either way, but since the 49ers are at home, I will give them the slight edge here. This will be a nail biter, but I foresee Harbaugh out coaching his opponent.

Texans 24 49ers 27

(49ers 4-1)

Week 6 – Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers

The Arizona Cardinals are the sleeper within the NFC West. Nobody is really talking about them, which can be dangerous since they still have arguably the best wide receiver in football – Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals have a new sheriff in town, his name is Carson Palmer. Let me emphasize that Palmer threw for over 4,000 yards last season with the Oakland Raiders. Yes, that is not a misprint or typo – 4,000 yards for the veteran quarterback with no elite receiver. Imagine the combination of Palmer to Fitzgerald – most aren’t talking about it. But trust me, not only am I thinking about it, I am also dreading it.

If the Cardinals didn’t make this move, I would have the 49ers sweeping the series for the 2013 season. I am not suggesting it couldn’t happen still, but it will be tough to beat them in Arizona this year. Thankfully, this game is in San Francisco, therefore I have the 49ers winning.

Palmer will struggle in his first game against the 49ers. Not knowing the tenacity of San Francisco’s defense will be alarming to him. He will be better prepared for the rematch in Arizona.

Cardinals 13 49ers 35

(49ers 5-1)

Week 7 – San Francisco 49ers @ Tennessee Titans

On paper this will probably be viewed as a boring match up. This could be a game that the 49ers overlook – in other words a “trap game.” But don’t count on that to happen. Coach Jim Harbaugh would not allow it nor will he stand for it. He will have his team prepared to play against RB Chris Johnson and the Titans. The Titans don’t have the same swag as they once did when coach Jeff Fisher was leading the team. With the 49ers luck, Fisher is now in the NFC West – but that’s another discussion. Let’s focus on the Titans here or at least try to.

Being that this is on the road, I will give some importance to the Titans. They will keep it interesting within the first half, but look for San Francisco to blow it open once the third quarter begins. Something tells me that WR Anquan Boldin will have a field day, since he will be in familiar territory against an AFC foe. I think the 49ers will shut down the Titans running attack and Chris Johnson will be seen dancing behind the line of scrimmage instead of going north of it.

49ers 35 Titans 14

(49ers 6-1)

Week 8 – San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars

This appears to be one of those give me games. In the National Football League, its’ “any given Sunday.”

NOT in this case.

49ers 24 Jaguars 0

(49ers 7-1)

Week 9 BYE

Okay, this is the half point of the season, and I have the 49ers at a staggering 7-1.That is pretty outstanding and seems a bit too optimistic. Or does it? I think the 49es are well equipped to have a tremendous first half of the year. If it wasn’t for those Seahawks, the 49ers would be an astonishing 8-0.

Week 10 – Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers

QB Cam Newton (the self-proclaimed Superman) is coming into town. Cam has been everything but “super” the past two seasons. After having a great rookie season, Newton and the Panthers fell off the map. Perhaps Cam forgets to change out of his Clark Kent uniform on Sunday afternoons – who knows? I will emphasize that the Panthers do compete hard each and every week; therefore this will not be a cake walk for the 49ers.

San Francisco will have to keep Newton and their running game off the field. WR Steve Smith is always ready and is a competitor that usually dictates what opposing defenses do. He has a unique blend of strength, size, speed and quickness – which the 49ers may have trouble matching up with.

However, most importantly (which may be the biggest factor), the Panthers lack the defensive fire power to stop the 49ers’ offense. Look for coach Harbaugh to install a heavy dose of the read option for this match up. Even though the Panthers will try to simulate the read option for the week of practice leading up to this game, Kaepernick will have success against them and will have a big day on the ground.

Panthers 17 49ers 27

(49ers 8-1)

Week 11 – San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints

Who is that? Oops, WHO DAT? Coach Sean Payton is back with the team and bounty hunter Greg Williams isn’t. What does all this mean? It means that the 49ers were the last team to eliminate coach Payton from the playoffs a few years ago. That was an amazing game where QB Alex Smith shined and led the 49ers to victory. TE Vernon Davis was on the receiving end for the go ahead touchdown, which is now referred to as “The Catch III” (Joe Montana to Dwight Clark – “The Catch” – Steve Young to Terrell Owens – “The Catch II”).

This will be a very tough matchup for the 49ers. Not only will emotions be high from the Saints and their players but I strongly believe coach Payton will have an impressive game plan to put up a lot of points against this versatile 49ers defense. Besides, it’s week 11 and with only one loss thus far; it is okay to give this to Drew Brees and the Saints.


Look for Brees to air it out and beat the 49ers in the dome. This will be tough to watch for all 49ers’ fans.

49ers 21 Saints 35

(49ers 8-2)

Week 12 – San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins

I am really looking forward to this game against the Washington Redskins. Earlier in the year the 49ers would have beaten the first overall pick in the 2012 draft (Andrew Luck) and now get a shot at the second overall pick, Robert Griffin III (RG3). By week 11, RG3 will have fully recovered from knee surgery (he is aiming to be ready by the start of the season) and will have a handful of games under his belt. That will help the second year quarterback to be ready to face the 49ers’ defense.

Both RG3 and Colin Kaepernick will be the focal point for the NFL to promote this football matchup. And why shouldn’t they be? Both are amazing athletes and appear to be the future of the NFL. The game will be played on Monday Night Football, on the grandest stage during the season. Let’s face it – the 49ers have more talent across the board and a defense that can take over games. The Redskins gave up a lot to acquire their franchise quarterback (RG3 not Kirk Cousins) and have glaring holes that need to be addressed via free agency. Then why do I feel that this will be a tough matchup?

Coach Mike Shanahan will bring a feisty team on Monday night. They will throw a variety of different looks at the 49ers that will include read option schemes, counter (running) plays, play action packages and deep routes. A healthy RG3 throwing the ball deep – now that’s a scary thought (especially if Garcon can stay healthy). The 49ers will be on their toes the entire game, but ultimately will come out on top. The Redskins do not have the personnel to contain Kaepernick, Gore, Davis, Crabtree and Boldin. Throw in a sprinkle of LaMichael James, Hunter and rookie Quinton Patton, you got yourself an overwhelmed Redskins front office, coaches and ball club.

It will be a good effort put forth by the Redskins, but the effort will fall short to the defending NFC Champs.

49ers 31 Redskins 21

 (49ers 9-2)

Week 13 – St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers

SWEEP – The 49ers win the series 2-0 this year (you may refer to my unbiased opinion HERE since I predicted this in week 4).

49ers 31 Rams 17

(49ers 10-2)

Week 14 – Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers

Okay, here we go again. The battle of the heavyweights within the NFC West or what some analysts are saying this year – the heavyweights of the NFC. At this juncture the 49ers would have lost 2 out of the last 3 meetings – which means war for coach Harbaugh and his gang. Both teams will most likely have their fair share of bumps and bruises this late in the season which could be a big deciding factor for the outcome.

The 49ers will be ready, focused, battle tested and well aware of the fact that they CANNOT lose this game. They cannot lose it for their own psyche, ego, confidence, etc.. – you name it. I think the 49ers show the world that they are the class of the NFC West and that there is still a gap between the Seattle Seahawks and themselves. The 49ers will win this big and that’s an understatement. Look for Kaep to be “Kaepernicking” a lot as he will put the team on his shoulders and will them to victory. I don’t think Kaepernick will allow punter Andy Lee to take the field – that may be an exaggeration, but you get the point  The 49ers will have to prove that they own the division and will have to hit on all cylinders (offense, defense & special teams). It will be disastrous if Seattle comes in and wins this game. Therefore, I strongly believe in Harbaugh since – Who has it better than him? – NOBODY.

Seahawks 13 49ers 31

(49ers 11-2)

Week 15 – San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Traveling to Tampa Bay this late in the year may be a blessing for the 49ers. Most places are cold and dreadful, while FL will be pretty pleasant – temperature wise. This game may have high emotions considering “The Hawk” – Dashon Goldson will be facing his former teammates. The 49ers did not offer Goldson a contract this year and let him test free agency. He got his worth and left San Francisco to join the Bucs. Not only did Tampa Bay sign Goldson, they also acquired cornerback Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets. That is an intimidating secondary, if Revis’ reconstructive knee holds up.

This is a game that the 49ers will have trouble with. I would think that the cross country travel to Tampa Bay will wear on the 49ers considering they would have traveled cross country already previously during the season (@Redskins and @Jaguars). Tampa Bay will somehow squeeze out a victory and give the 49ers their third loss of the season.

49ers 21 Bucs 24

(49ers 11-3)

Week 16 – Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers

This is rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game – it will be an intriguing matchup between the Falcons and 49ers. Some Falcon’s fans still have a bitter taste in their mouths about the no call at the end of the title game last season. They felt that a flag should have been thrown on the 49ers for pass interference – sound familiar?

Atlanta signed the one person that bruised and battered the 49ers’ defense last year – running back Steven Jackson. This is a great pick up for the Falcons and it is exactly what they needed. I feel bad for teams going up against the likes of Matt Ryan, Steven Jackson, Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones and Roddy White. This team mirrors the 49ers on offense, but in my opinion are slightly better. In order for the 49ers to get to the level of production that the Falcons demonstrate offensively, they will need to show consistency and growth week by week. Vic Fangio’s defense will be up for the challenge and this is where the signing of Nnamdi Asomugha will pay dividends. The defensive backs Rogers, Brown, Asomugha and Culliver will play together as one unit at the corner position and help the 49ers win this game. The 49er will need to put on a heavy pass rush against Matt Ryan or else he will play pitch and catch with the variety of weapons at his disposal.

This will go down to the wire, but the newly acquired kicker (Phil Dawson) will hit the game winning field goal and the 49ers will be victorious. Something tells me though, these two teams may see each other later in the year. Perhaps a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game?

Falcons 31 49ers 34

(49ers 12-3)

Week 17 – San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals

This may be a meaningless game – at least that is what I am hoping for. This will either be a must win for the 49ers on the road in Arizona because the Seahawks will be challenging them for the division title or it may simply be a rest game. I would assume the ladder – the 49ers will have the division wrapped up going into the final game of the year (I am a bit too optimistic).

But let’s be a bit more dramatic – shall we? Even though the 49ers will have the division wrapped up prior to playing the Cardinals – they will have to win the game to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. That’s right, if they win, then the road to the Super Bowl goes through Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

I will let you decide the outcome of this game – do the 49ers win and secure home-field advantage or do they simply rest their starters for the playoffs?

Fine, I will give you a hint. See below.

49ers 28 Cardinals 13

49ers’ final record for 2013 Season – 13 wins and 3 losses (13-3)

Is it football season yet?

Tweet me @shakkhan79

Comments

  1. mattmchoes says

    It seems you need to do some research about THE CATCH, THE CATCH II and THE CATCH III
    THE CATCH was Montana to Clark, THE CATCH II was Young to Owens and THE CATCH III was Smith to Davis.

  2. DasDweeb says

    I disagree with you about the Pack’s running attack – it should be significantly better this year with their two draftees. Having watched Franklin at (the hated) UCLA, I can tell you he is for real. I also would be shocked if their defense didn’t improve. That said, our offense should be significantly better than last year’s, and our defense will be much stronger than it was in the playoffs with healthy, pass-rushing linemen. Have to like the Niners in the opener.