Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports



In our latest Round Table, our staff makes their predictions on the San Francisco 49ers' 2016 record and share their reasoning for their predictions.

Stewart M. Cockrell


The 5-11 2015 49ers stole a couple victories that inflated their record a bit and while I don't think this team will contend against top tier teams, this team is going to be better than the 2015 team by a lot. Assuming the key players stay healthy, there are seven winnable games on the 49ers schedule. This team will have an improved pass rush, the moves in the secondary seem to be promising and the drastically improved offensive line will allow the 49ers chances to be effective in the run game. Whereas this team will struggle within the NFC West, the 2016 49ers are on par talent wise with some of the second tier teams in the NFC South and AFC East. Assuming the team can go 2-2 against each of those divisions, steal a game against an NFC West opponent (Opening Night vs. Rams), as well as sneak victories against Dallas and Chicago they can get to 7-9. It is optimistic, but it is a realistic guess based on scheduling and opponents.

Support this writer and shop Amazon

Predicted Record: 7-9

Zain Naqvi


Last year was sort of misleading. The 49ers were probably worse than their record indicated. They had 3 wins that very likely could have been losses against the Bears (Robbie Gould missed a game winning field goal at the end of regulation), Rams (Greg Zuerlein missed a field goal late in the 4th quarter) and Falcons (Dan Quinn inexplicably opted for a field goal from the 1 yard line when his team was down by 4 late in the 4th quarter).

The coaching staff is a huge upgrade over last year, the offensive line is much better (they really couldn't get any worse), there is more talent on the defense and overall, there seems to be more depth at each position. There are still big question marks at quarterback, receiver and inside linebacker. The team is still suffering from the draft failures of Trent Baalke and won't be truly competitive until he's fired or has a good draft (a conversation for another time), so much of it will lie on the coaching staff's creativity to get the most out of the talent that they have and what they can get out of the quarterback position.

Still, I believe the team is more talented than last year and should outperform last year's team, albeit barely, to the tune of a 6-10 record. A healthy Carolos Hyde should make a difference, and if Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner step up, the defense could be a force. If Blaine Gabbert outperforms expectations and finds a favorite target (maybe Vance McDonald?), the offense could really get rolling and the team could even go 7-9 or 8-8. However, there are too many "what-if's" and the team just doesn't have enough proven talent right now to become a contender, so I'll go with 6 wins.

Predicted Record: 6-10

Jesse Dumas


Hoo-boy, this is my super-optimistic predictions for 2016. I'm predicting with the regime change, Chip Kelly actually makes Levi's a home field with an advantage for the first time ever. Any Oregon fans in the area ought to come out just to see him and the slew of players he's grabbed in the NFL, so let's bank on that. I'm also predicting the 49ers out-perform their expectations early, particularly on defense but then the league gets wise on not to overlook them later in the year. 8-8 would be a good step forward with this group, far exceeding most expectations. It won't be an easy year for 49er Faithful, a far cry from just 3 seasons ago, and a testament to just how hard it is to win just 3 more games in the NFL.

Predicted Record: 8-8

Brandon Graham


A best-case scenario given the roster and schedule at hand. The offense has to better than it was last season, and if the preseason is any indication, it will be. For this team to go .500, I'll admit injuries will have to be few and far between. There just isn't enough depth amongst any positional group to overcome serious injuries.

Whenever critics bash the prospects of this team in 2016, just quietly tell yourself, "Jim Tomsula went 5-11."

Predicted Record: 8-8

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


Al Sacco


I may be looking at this through red and gold colored glasses, but I believe the 49ers will be better than people think this year. The offensive line is massively improved, and there are some solid, building block pieces on defense (Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Navorro Bowman, Jimmie Ward, Aaron Lynch). There will undoubtedly be some tight, low scoring, ugly games, but they will pull some of those out.

Now the schedule is brutal, so there's a chance the team could actually play fairly well and come in under the six wins I predicted. Hosting the Rams to open the season is a big game for the Niners, because winning at Carolina and Seattle is unlikely in the following weeks. If the team starts 0-3 things could spiral out of control a bit, and then all bets are off. I think San Francisco pulls out a win against Los Angeles though, and will steal a few more they're not supposed to along the way.

Predicted Record: 6-10

John Croston


For starters, I don't buy the hype surrounding the 49ers being one of the worst teams in the league this season. One of their biggest weaknesses from last year, the offensive line, has quickly turned into one of the most talented and deepest position groups on the roster. On the opposite side, the defensive line also appears to be stout, and with some promise for the future as well. Last time I checked, the game of football is still won and lost in the trenches. If nothing else, the team has two solid foundations upon which to build their future.

I would expect a solid, not spectacular, game-manager type performance from Blaine Gabbert. He won't be a turnover machine, but he might not be able to put the team on his back and carry them to victory. The biggest issue I see on this team is going to be on the perimeter of the offense. Outside of Torrey Smith, the 49ers just don't have any proven playmakers, as evidenced by not one but two WR trades prior to the season opener. WR is by far the weakest, least proven position group on the roster and it remains to be seen if Chip Kelly's scheme can mask the lack of proven talent at that position. If it can, and thus Coach Kelly has successfully evolved his offense to work at the NFL level, then I can see the 49ers finishing with a 7-9 record, perhaps even 8-8. Even with a tough strength of schedule, there are bound to be some upsets and surprises along the way.

Predicted Record: 7-9

David Bonilla


The 49ers aren't favored in any of their games this season. Of course, that could change as the season progresses. There are numerous winnable games on their schedule, but none will be easy. Don't expect the 49ers to blow out anyone. That's why a Week 1 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Rams is essential. They face the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals in three of their next four games.

I believe that if Jim Tomsula and the staff that was assembled for him can win five games last season, then even a half competent coaching staff should be able to top that. I believe Chip Kelly and his staff are better than that. Even with one of the toughest schedules in the league, Kelly and his staff should be able to squeak out a couple of more victories.

The key will be health. This team cannot afford any major injuries as the season progresses. The offensive line should be much improved over last season's disaster. If running back Carlos Hyde can stay healthy and quarterback Blaine Gabbert can manage (there is that dreaded word) the offense, the 49ers offense should be a huge improvement over last season. That should be enough to lift the team over a couple of more teams and maybe a surprise victory or two.

Another question mark is the 49ers defense and how they manage paired with the team's fast-tempo offense, which may keep them on the field a lot. They will need to stay healthy and be aggressive for the team to succeed.

Really, any improvement statistically over last season will be progress. While the 49ers were probably worse than their record indicated last season, they could be better than their record indicates this season – even if they don't win seven or more games.

Predicted Record: 7-9