The 2014 NFL season kicks off Thursday night! Are you excited? I sure am.
It will be a nice change of pace to get back to seeing how well the offense will develop on the field and how the defense will jell, despite missing anywhere from three to six starters from last season. Anything will be OK in order to get this offseason of suspensions, arrests and allegations somewhat in the rearview mirror.
We could go game-by-game and predict the 49ers' final record, but that’s been handled nicely elsewhere, including Bleacher Report’s own Tyson Langland earlier this offseason. Instead, let’s rank the games in order of likelihood for the 49ers to win, starting with the easiest and moving on to the most difficult.
In other words, if you think the 49ers are going to go 9-7, they’d probably win the first nine games in this slideshow and lose the last seven. If you think they need to get to 12 wins to win the NFC West, you should be looking for them to pick up the first 12 games and so forth.
We’re taking into account the strength of each individual team first and foremost, of course, but that’s not the only factor. Long road trips are draining, and they make games more difficult, while homestands and bye weeks naturally up a team’s odds. NaVorro Bowman's recovery and Aldon Smith's suspension also play large parts in determining the 49ers’ odds of success.
Here is my ranking of the 49ers games, from easiest to hardest.