Too early to predict.
Mid-May is basically no-man’s-land in the NFL off-season. Small rookie camps are packed, OTAs haven’t started in the field, and we’re still a long way from any mandatory off-season work. The draft has been completed. The free agency is mostly finished, now the guessing games begin.
That’s all pre-speculation, really. They make guesses based on analysis that is usually overly optimistic or overly pessimistic. The problem with early predictions is that injuries can change things. Dealers can change things up (shout out to Baker Mayfield and/or Jimmy Garoppolo). Even one or two dominant rookies can tip the scales (shout out to Ja’Marr Chase).
All told, the NFL schedule was released last week and officially paved the way for the season’s prediction – however random – to be made. So we made one.
We went through game after game of the 49ers 2022 table trying to predict the winner and the outcome of each competition. We’re assuming good health, and for the purposes of the 49ers, Trey Lance is the team’s starter in week one.
With full acknowledgment that even one of these convergent scores would be a small miracle, here’s a rough version of the 49ers’ 2022 predictions game-by-game:
The Bears are a great team, but they’re not as talented as the 49ers and they’re dealing with a head coach for the first time. Trey Lance should be good enough to win, assuming it’s the start of week one. 49ers 20, Bears 18
This will be the real test of whether Pete Carroll or Russell Wilson have owned the 49ers over the past decade. 49ers 23, Seahawks 16
Russell Wilson at home in prime time against the 49ers…what could possibly go wrong? Bronco 28, 49 rice 20
A replay of the NFC Championship in what will be the first Monday night football game from The Lance. We’ll learn a lot about the 2022 49 models here, but it’s easy to see them falter early on. Rams 34, 49ers 23
Monday night East Coast Road football is tough, but luckily for the 49ers, the Panthers probably won’t be too good. 49ers 34, Panthers 17
This will be another key point for this year. If they score a win in Week 5, and then tie the East Coast swing of two games with another W, that would be a good sign that they’re headed into the end of the first half. The Hawks are a fitting opponent in this niche, especially since there might be a bit of a QB carousel going on. 49ers 38, Falcons 24
The puck in Levi’s Stadium! The 49ers should be fine, but the Chiefs are a potential juggernaut. Keeping this one tight would be a good sign. Chiefs 33, 49ers 24
Assuming the 49ers are 4-3 this season, that could determine how the rest of the season will go because they’ll roll in farewell. San Francisco may not have been good enough to beat Los Angeles early in the year, but by this point they should be able to pull off a team victory against a good team. 49ers 24, Rams 21
Going to the game with 5-3 would be massive for the 49ers because they had a lot of tough games in the second half. A Week 8 win over Los Angeles to stay above 0.500 is going to make some buzz around this club when they start a playoff.
Getting this at home, bye, is a big deal. Los Angeles falls into Atlanta the week before this week, which is a plus for San Francisco. 49ers 27, Chargers 25
Going to Mexico City against the Cardinals has to be dangerous, it won’t be easy. Slithering here after a tight beat on the chargers wouldn’t come as a shock. Cardinal 30, 49ers 20
The Saints defense is good, and head coach Dennis Allen should have a few wrinkles to throw at Lance that hinder the 49ers’ attack in a surprise win for New Orleans. Saints: 20, 49ers 13
Stream losses put Miami in a tight spot on the West Coast trip, and the 49ers won’t ignore it even though Tom Brady and the Buccaneers loom large. 49ers 30, Dolphins 28
Tampa Bay is another really well-trained team that should be able to scrape enough wrinkles in the 49ers’ attack to keep them at bay. Assuming Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, they’ll collect enough points to stop San Francisco from stealing one. Bucs 24, 49ers 17
Thursday night’s football game on the road won’t be easy, but the 49ers owe the Seahawks two losses. Seattle may only be playing a chord at this point and the 49ers will be fighting for their playoff life. 49ers 30, Seahawks 17
It will be a short week for Washington as Christmas Eve kicks off on Saturday. The 49ers should roll, if they’re actually 8-6 at this point and play well. 49ers 28, leaders 18
The New Year’s Day game in Las Vegas against the Raiders should be greatly improved. This is like a game that strays a bit from the 49ers even if they are the better team. Raiders 30 and 49 Reese 21
The Cardinals will enter Levi’s Stadium and have a completely different team of 49 players than the one they faced in Mexico City. San Francisco may need a win to grab a playoff point, and by this point they should be good enough to take the much-needed win. 49ers 31, Cardinals 28