Maiocco's game-by-game predictions for 49ers' 2022 season

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The 49ers dug themselves out of a hole in 2021, strung some wins together in the second half of the season and squeezed into the playoffs with a come-from-behind Week 18 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Things should not be nearly as perilous for the 49ers this season.

Still, the 49ers’ face a difficult stretch from Weeks 3 to 10, but they should win just enough of those games to set themselves up to contend for the NFC West and, at worst, advance to the playoffs as a wild-card team.

The NFL released its regular-season schedule on Thursday, and it’s time to take a quick look at how the schedule sets up for the 49ers this season.

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 11 -- 49ers at Chicago, 10 a.m.

The 49ers traded up to No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, and decided on quarterback Trey Lance over Justin Fields and Mac Jones. While Lance started only two games when Jimmy Garoppolo was injured, Fields struggled in his 10 starts. So who is better equipped to open this season? That will be answered at Soldier Field.

Prediction: 49ers 20, Bears 14

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 18 -- Seattle at 49ers, 1:05 p.m.

It’s difficult to imagine the Seahawks being competitive with Geno Smith or Drew Lock taking over at quarterback after 10 years of Russell Wilson.

Prediction: 49ers 31, Seahawks 6

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 25 -- 49ers at Denver, 5:20 p.m.

The 49ers simply cannot get away from Wilson. And a change of venue does not mean Wilson is no longer the ultimate 49ers killer.

Prediction: Broncos 28, 49ers 24

Week 4: Monday, Oct. 3 -- L.A. Rams at 49ers, 5:15 p.m.

Assuming, as we all do, that Lance opens the season as the 49ers’ starter, he will still be figuring things out. And coach Kyle Shanahan and the offensive coaching staff will still be figuring out how to best utilize his skills.

Prediction: Rams 31, 49ers 21

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 9 -- 49ers at Carolina, 1:05 p.m.

What are the odds that Jimmy Garoppolo starts this game? And for which team?

Prediction: 49ers 31, Panthers 13

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16 -- 49ers at Atlanta, 10 a.m.

The 49ers always ask the NFL for the courtesy of stacking games in the Eastern time zone in back-to-back weeks. This seems like an ideal weeklong stay for practice and bonding.

Prediction: 49ers 27, Falcons 17

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23 -- Kansas City at 49ers, 1:25 p.m.

In the first meeting between these teams since Super LIV, this game is a lot less painful for the 49ers . . . but it’s still a loss to Patrick Mahomes and company.

Prediction: Chiefs 35, 49ers 31

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 30 -- 49ers at L.A. Rams, 1:25 p.m.

Whose house? The 49ers use their home-crowd advantage at SoFi Stadium to split the season series. Too bad these teams will not have another potential showdown in the regular-season finale.

Prediction: 49ers 27, Rams 21

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13 -- L.A. Chargers at 49ers, 5:20 p.m.

Coming off the bye week, the 49ers have to turn it on quickly against Justin Herbert. The 49ers’ defense will face more fourth-down attempts than any game in franchise history.

Prediction: Chargers 33, 49ers 24

Week 11: Monday, Nov. 21 -- 49ers vs. Arizona (Mexico City), 5:15 p.m.

The 49ers are gifted a neutral-site game against a division opponent. The crowd will be decidedly pro-49ers.

Prediction: 49ers 30, Cardinals 24

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27 -- New Orleans at 49ers, 1:25 p.m.

The 49ers, coming off the high-elevation game in Mexico City, can catch their breath against the Saints at Levi’s Stadium.

Prediction: 49ers 31, Saints 17

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4 -- Miami at 49ers, 1:05 p.m.

Former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel brings his new team to Santa Clara. Shanahan has a more talented team, and will teach his pupil a lesson or two.

Prediction: 49ers 38, Dolphins 17

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11 --Tampa Bay at 49ers, 1:25 p.m.

Future highly paid broadcaster Tom Brady might stick around six more seasons to get another crack at finishing his career with a win in the Bay Area.

Prediction: 49ers 27, Buccaneers 21

Week 15: Thursday, Dec. 15 -- 49ers at Seattle, 5:15 p.m.

This will be a rough season for the Seahawks, but coach Pete Carroll will always get his team to play hard. This is a difficult turnaround for the 49ers on a Thursday night. They’ll be coming off a big win against the Bucs, and the Seahawks will play their best game of the season.

Prediction: Seahawks 24, 49ers 21

Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24 -- Washington at 49ers, 1:05 p.m.

The Washington football team is coming to town, but the 49ers will be in command from start to finish.

 

 

Prediction: 49ers 28, Commanders 13

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1 -- 49ers at Las Vegas, 1:05 p.m.

New Year’s Day is always rough for visitors of Sin City.

Prediction: Raiders 27, 49ers 24

Week 18: Sunday/Sunday, Jan. 7-8 -- Arizona at 49ers, TBA

Another offseason of weirdness for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals while the 49ers advance to the NFC playoffs for the third time in four seasons. 

Prediction: 49ers 34, Cardinals 21

Season prediction

49ers finish second in the NFC West, behind the Rams, with an 11-6 record.

 

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