San Francisco 49ers 2013 NFL Schedule: Game-by-Game Predictions and Analysis

Tyson Langland@TysonNFLNFC West Lead WriterApril 19, 2013

San Francisco 49ers 2013 NFL Schedule: Game-by-Game Predictions and Analysis

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    The much anticipated 2013 regular-season schedule was just released a few hours ago for the San Francisco 49ers and the 31 other NFL organizations.

    Even though 49ers' regular-season opponents have been known since January, the dates, times and network coverages were released today at 8 p.m. ET.

    Here is a complete look at the 2013 schedule with game-by-game predictions, information and analysis.

Week 1: Packers vs. 49ers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:15 p.m. ET, FOX

    The schedule makers decided to do everyone a favor and give folks the 49ers and Packers for the third time in a year. San Francisco has to be happy the game is at Candlestick, just like the NFC playoff matchup was. 

    With all the time these two teams have spent playing each other, they should be quite familiar with one another by now. The biggest key will obviously be Colin Kaepernick and the Pistol offense. Undoubtedly, the Packers will come better prepared, so offensive coordinator Greg Roman should be scheming to give Green Bay something fresh and new.

    The Niners may need to rely on their passing attack if the ground game isn't able to lead the charge the way it was able to in the playoffs. The freshly acquired Anquan Boldin may be just what the doctored ordered if that's the case.

    Prediction: 49ers 38, Packers 35 

Week 2: 49ers vs. Seahawks

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

    When San Francisco trotted into Seattle for Sunday Night Football in 2012, few believed Pete Carroll's Seahawks would embarrass the 49ers the way they did. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell pulled out all the stops and used a myriad of looks to throw off Vic Fangio's defense. And it worked. 

    The 'Hawks dropped a 40 burger on the Niners and went home with a large sense of accomplishment. Yet one game doesn't dictate a series from one season to the next. Both clubs have pulled out all the stops in an effort to get better from the conclusion of the Super Bowl until now.

    San Francisco's offensive line will do their best to keep Seattle's prominent pass rush in check. Not to mention its secondary will have its hands full with the freshly acquired Percy Harvin. It's hard to beat the Seahawks in the Pacific Northwest, so the tip of my hat goes to them.

    However, this year's affair will be much closer.

    Prediction: Seahawks 31, 49ers 24 

Week 3: Colts vs. 49ers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

    After a Sunday Night Football loss to the Seahawks Week 2, the San Francisco 49ers will head back home looking for redemption. Despite having home-field advantage, Andrew Luck will make sure this game is no walk in the park from a Colts perspective. 

    And the 49ers know that. They can't afford to lose two games in a row this early in the season. So they will be making every adjustment necessary to get back in the win column. Their offensive game plan will need to revert back to pounding it on the ground as the Colts have struggled against the run for some time now. 

    Look for both Frank Gore and LaMichael James to top the century mark as San Francisco notches an early season victory against the AFC.

    Prediction: 49ers 28, Colts 27

Week 4: 49ers vs. Rams

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network

    Aside from their matchup against the Ravens in the Super Bowl, one could argue that two of San Francisco's toughest games were against Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams. The Rams seemingly had a tight grip on quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Pistol offense. 

    Turnovers and missed special teams opportunities doomed the 49ers' chances at a season series sweep in 2012. As St. Louis continues to acquire talent and improve, it will prove that its record from last season was simply the start to something bigger and better.

    Look for the Rams to play good defense and control clock. That will be the only chance they have against one of the league's top offenses. Even though they acquired offensive talent in free agency, very few teams can match San Francisco strike-for-strike. 

    49ers escape narrowly on the road.

    Prediction: 49ers 16, Rams 13

Week 5: Texans vs. 49ers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

    After narrowly escaping the St. Louis Rams on the road, San Francisco receives extended recovery time before it squares off against the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football. The 49ers will be looking to extend their winning streak to three before heading to Arizona Week 6.

    Given Houston's drop off in talent in the secondary, look for Colin Kaepernick to keep his passes aimed away from cornerback Jonathan Joseph. A cornerback like Kareem Jackson will have a hard time covering A.J. Jenkins or Anquan Boldin. 

    The size factor will simply be too much. The focal point on defense will be shutting down Arian Foster before he has the chance to even get going. If they can do this, San Francisco should be in the clear. 

    Prediction: 49ers 33, Texans 24

Week 6: Cardinals vs. 49ers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

    Even though Brian Hoyer won't be taking snaps under center for the Arizona Cardinals this time around, Carson Palmer will. That means not much will change will change for this game's matchups. Like last year, the Cardinals will still have a hard time picking up yards through the air and on the ground. 

    Tight end Vernon Davis should be utilized heavily by the 49ers. He creates mismatches up the seam, while freeing up wide receivers outside the hashes. As much as I would like to think this game will be close, the reality is the Niners are just too good at home. 

    Look for Colin Kaepernick to be named the NFC Player of the Week days after the completion of this contest. 

    Prediction: 49ers 27, Cardinals 16

Week 7: 49ers vs. Titans

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

    Even though the Tennessee Titans haven't exactly been in the same class as the San Francisco 49ers over the course of the past couple of seasons, they have made big strides in terms of adding offensive talent during the offseason. 

    Delanie Walker at tight end is a familiar face to the 49ers and so is offensive guard Robert Turner. Walker left San Francisco to move into a starting role with the Titans and Turner had two strong games against the Niners as a member of the St. Louis Rams last season. 

    However, Tennessee's only real advantage in this game is that it's in Nashville. Outside of that, the 49ers have a clear advantage on offense, defense and special teams. Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene will be replied upon heavily, as Aldon Smith and Justin Smith will be hassling third-year quarterback Jake Locker. 

    Prediction: 49ers 24, Titans 13

Week 8: 49ers vs. Jaguars

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

    The last time the 49ers packed up and headed overseas to England, Mike Singletary was at the helm and Troy Smith was taking snaps under center. Based on those two facts alone, things will look completely different come Sunday, October 27, 2013. 

    Back in 2010, San Francisco squared off against the Denver Broncos. This time around, they will be matching up against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The last time these two teams played was 2009, so it's safe to say everything you know from that game can be thrown out the window. 

    The Bay Area's finest has returned to its glory days, while the Jaguars have remained cellar dwellers over the past few seasons. Gus Bradley is familiar with the 49ers and has a good idea as to how to shut them down, but the talent level on the defensive side of the ball just isn't there yet. 

    Frank Gore and the rest of San Francisco's ground game will impose their will.

    Prediction: 49ers 26, Jaguars 9

Week 9: Bye Week

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    Heading into their bye week, the 49ers currently sit at 7-1.

Week 10: Panthers vs. 49ers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

    After San Francisco's first eight games of the season, they are sitting pretty at 7-1 with the Carolina Panthers rolling into town. Carolina may not have a record like the 49ers do after eight games, yet they do have talent and aren't going to roll over for anyone. 

    Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams will test San Francisco's front-seven, but that's about as far as they will get. Physically, the Panthers offensive line doesn't have what it takes to overpower Vic Fangio's defensive line.

    Cam Newton and Steve Smith will be their only hope in terms of putting up points. They may get one deep on the Niners secondary, but sooner rather than later the defensive backfield will put the clamps down and pick off a couple of Newton's throws.

    That will be enough, as San Francisco wins big.

    Prediction: 49ers 35, Panthers 20

Week 11: 49ers vs. Saints

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

    Sean Payton is back in the saddle, leading the Saints' charge. After last year's disappointing season overall, that's the best news the team has received all offseason long. Even though New Orleans did its best to keep last season's 31-21 affair close, touchdowns from Ahmad Brooks and Donte Whitner proved to be too much to overcome. 

    Given the fact San Francisco's defense has only gotten better over the course of the offseason, there's no reason the 49ers shouldn't jump out in front. Rob Ryan hasn't exactly fielded the best defenses on an annual basis. Not to mention it's hard to like what he is fielding from a talent standpoint. 

    Kaepernick and the rest of the offense will have to avoid falling behind early because Drew Brees rarely fails to put teams away. The 49ers should also make it a point to lean more on the run game. New Orleans' defensive line struggles to control the line of scrimmage against power run teams. 

    Prediction: 49ers 35, Saints 17

Week 12: 49ers vs. Redskins

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN

    Robert Griffin III showed the masses that he is indeed the savior for the Washington Redskins franchise. Years of poor quarterback play in Washington D.C. are now an afterthought after an incredible rookie season from Griffin in 2012. 

    Yet a fresh ACL injury suffered in the postseason last year may have delayed the continued advancement of the Redskins. San Francisco isn't in the business of showing mercy to anyone, so a once intriguing matchup has now become clouded by injury concerns.

    Regardless, it will be business as usual for the 49ers. No one player predicates their success. A strong mix of Greg Roman's aerial and ground attack will overpower Jim Haslett's 28th-ranked defense from 2012.

    Prediction: 49ers 22, Redskins 16

Week 13: Rams vs. 49ers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

    In a game where Alex Smith was forced out due to injury, Colin Kaepernick appeared and did enough to keep the Rams at bay. However, neither San Francisco or St. Louis was able to come away victorious. Special teams miscues and failures to turn good field position into points haunted the Niners until the two teams matched up weeks later.

    This time around at Candlestick, the 49ers will be prepared. They saw how well the Rams shut down their offense in 2012. Look for Greg Roman to get creative and focus heavily on the run game. Multiple back sets out of the pistol and the read-option should help San Francisco take care of business. 

    En route to a big day on the ground, Frank Gore helps the 49ers pick up one game in the season series when it's all said and done. 

    Prediction: 49ers 30, Rams 21

Week 14: Seahawks vs. 49ers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

    A beatdown at home is one thing, while a beatdown on the road is another. The Seahawks are good, we know that. But are they good enough to beat the 49ers on the road in a hostile environment? The answer is no. 

    Don't think head coach Jim Harbaugh and the rest of the coaching staff won't be ready for Russell Wilson. Even though Seattle has game-changing playmakers, San Francisco has game-changing neutralizers. 

    Oh yeah, the Niners pass rush is pretty good too. Aldon Smith, Justin Smith and Ahmad Brooks will need to harass the Pro Bowl quarterback. Force him out of his comfort zone by blanketing him, just like the Falcons did in the playoffs. 

    If they can do that, the rest will fall into place. San Francisco narrowly edges out Seattle.

    Prediction: 49ers 16, Seahawks 13 

Week 15: 49ers vs. Buccaneers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

    As a general observer of the NFL, it's hard not to like what Greg Schiano is doing in Tampa Bay. He has one of youngest teams in the league, Doug Martin seems to an absolute home run at running back and his defense seems to be one cornerback away from solidifying itself as one of the league's best. 

    Yet an assortment of talent doesn't instantly make a team a contender. In some games, the Buccaneers seem to be on the right track and in others they seem to be totally lost. If they want a true test as to what kind of progress is truly being made, they will have home-field advantage against Jim Harbaugh and company. 

    San Francisco's top-notch run defense will be solely focused on shutting down the muscle hamster. Even though certain pieces are there, Tampa Bay's not at a point where it has the ability to overtake the top-tier teams in the NFL, yet.

    The 49ers roll.

    Prediction: 49ers 28, Buccaneers 17 

Week 16: Falcons vs. 49ers

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN

    This NFC Championship game re-match should pick up right where it left off in 2012. One of the league's best offenses matched with one of the league's best defenses. Both teams have made strides to get better since the season ended, and both teams have positioned themselves for another Super Bowl run.

    However, last year's incredible comeback from the 49ers won't be given the opportunity to happen this year. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Steven Jackson will go on the road and put a stop to the 49ers' 12-game win streak.

    No team can complain about about a 13-2 record. San Francisco will just have to keep a playoff mindset and even consider resting a few of its starters in the season finale against the Cardinals.

    Prediction: Falcons 38, 49ers 14

Week 17: 49ers vs. Cardinals

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    Kickoff Time and Network: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

    When the 49ers traveled to Arizona last season it was a Monday night affair that got out of hand quickly. San Francisco scored the first 17 points of the game and never looked back until the clock struck double zero. 

    Wide receiver Michael Crabtree scored two touchdowns on five targets and quarterback Alex Smith was razor sharp. He completed 18-of-19 passes, tossed three touchdown passes and posted a 157.1 quarterback rating. 

    Despite being on the road, this year's game should prove to be eerily similar. Sure, the Cardinals have upgraded and retooled their offense, but so has Harbaugh. Adding Anquan Boldin to the mix spells major matchup problems for Arizona's secondary. 

    Prediction: 49ers 21, Cardinals 10

Final Predictions

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    Final Record: 14-2

    A full-year with Colin Kaepernick under center gave the 49ers a 14-2 record and a No. 1 playoff seed in the NFC. No one part of the schedule proved to be too tough for Jim Harbaugh's club. The only hiccups came against NFC rivals Atlanta and Seattle. 

    Look for San Francisco to make it deep into the playoffs again in 2013 as the gun for a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance. In a likelihood, there's a good chance they will see both the Falcons and Seahawks in the playoffs, so they will need to be extra prepared when that time rolls around.

    It sure is a good time to be a 49ers fan.