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We're not often ones for season predictions, especially those that occur prior to the NFL Draft, but there isn't much else going on this weekend. Steven Ruiz of USA TODAY's For The Win went through the effort of creating a lengthy piece predicting the score of all 267 NFL regular season and playoff games.
Within the prediction, Ruiz had the San Francisco 49ers finishing the season at 8-8, which is better than most analysts and writers are predicting these days. Within his prediction, that record is good enough for third in the NFC West behind the division winning Seattle Seahawks and playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals. Again, better than most analysts are predicting these days. He has the Los Angeles Rams, who now own the first pick in the NFL Draft, finishing last in the division.
So which teams does Ruiz have the 49ers beating this coming season? He has them coming out on top against the Rams at home during Week 1, hosting the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4, a shocker home win over the Arizona Cardinals during Week 5, at the Buffalo Bills during Week 6, hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Week 7, hosting the New Orleans Saints during Week 9, hosting the New York Jets during Week 14, and finally at the Atlanta Falcons during Week 15.
In this scenario, the 49ers are winners of five straight from Weeks 4 through 9. However, they then lose four straight before winning again during Week 14. Ruiz also has them 6-2 at Levi's Stadium but just 2-4 against the NFC West. Of course, one of those divisional losses is a Week 3 41-17 blowout to the Seahawks.
|1||Los Angeles Rams||W, 23-13|
|2||at Carolina Panthers||L, 20-34|
|3||at Seattle Seahawks||L, 41-17|
|4||Dallas Cowboys||W, 21-20|
|5||Arizona Cardinals||W, 27-20|
|6||at Buffalo Bills||W, 27-17|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W, 31-27|
|9||New Orleans Saints||W, 34-31|
|10||at Arizona Cardinals||L, 13-34|
|11||New England Patriots||L, 20-38|
|12||at Miami Dolphins||L, 21-24|
|13||at Chicago Bears||L, 17-27|
|14||New York Jets||W, 30-22|
|15||at Atlanta Falcons||W, 24-21|
|16||at Los Angeles Rams||L, 14-20|
|17||Seattle Seahawks||L, 20-30|
|NFC West Standings|
|San Francisco 49ers||8-8|
|Los Angeles Rams||5-11|
He caps off the season with the New England Patriots owning the best record in the AFC and the Green Bay Packers owning the best record in the NFC by way of a tiebreaker over the Carolina Panthers. His prediction for Super Bowl LI? The Patriots over the Packers by a score of 29-23.
Of course, we'll have to wait and see if Ruiz revamps his prediction following the draft, but it's refreshing to see someone within the media believing that the 49ers can make progress under Chip Kelly.
How do a couple of the local beat writers feel the 49ers will do this season? Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area has them finishing at 5-11 while Grant Cohn of the Press Democrat believes they will go 4-12.
Do you feel Ruiz's prediction to be overly optimistic? Is it not optimistic enough? Let us know by leaving a comment below.