The San Francisco 49ers enter a new era in 2018, the first full season with Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback and the first in which wagering on sports is legal in the United States of America. Currently, the 49ers' predicted win total for the 2018 season is set at 8.5 games with the over 8.5 at +120 and under at -140. Here we predict the 49ers' 2018 season win total by game.

Week 1 Sunday, September 9 @ Minnesota
Jimmy Garoppolo's win streak of NFL games as a starter will come to an end at some point, and it's more likely to happen than not in his first week of the 2018 season. The Vikings finished 4th in overall in team efficiency at the end of the 2017 season and upgraded their quarterback and return a healthy Dalvin Cook. Adding George Iloka to an elite defense, the Purple People Eaters have the additional advantage of playing in one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, making the 49ers' chance of an upset unlikely. Prediction: 49ers lose.

Week 2 Sunday, September 16 vs Detroit
Can new Lions head coach Matt Patricia improve on a 9-7 season in Detroit? Matthew Stafford will get his points but will a defense that finished the 2017 season ranked 28th in weighted defense improve with the former Patriots defensive coordinator? Jim Caldwell may have been an underrated coach last season and former Belichick assistants don't have a strong track record as head coaches. Look for the Lions to take a step back in 2018. Prediction: 49ers win.

Week 3 Sunday, September 23 @ Kansas City
The Patrick Mahomes era begins in Kansas City and Andy Reid is hoping to ride his new quarterback's big arm to a stronger finish this season. After an explosive offensive start to their 2017 season, Alex Smith regressed into classic Alex Smith and the defense fermented into Swiss cheese. It's hard to predict how Mahomes will play in his first season as the unquestioned starter, but there's no doubt he has a stronger arm than Alex Smith. Andy Reid is a great regular season coach and Arrowhead Stadium is one of the best homefield advantages in all of football. Prediction: 49ers lose.

Week 4 Sunday, September 30 @ LA Chargers
The Chargers are favored to win the AFC West and were a few bungles away from 10 or 11 wins last season, the debut of head coach Anthony Lynn. The Bolts are fairly evenly matched with the 49ers on paper, ranked 11th in ESPN's FPI (football power index) while the 49ers are ranked 10th, both teams predicted to win 8.7 games using the same system. The StubHub Center is not much of a home field advantage and the Chargers can't seem to shake a game-costing brain-fart or two early in the season, and these factors could make the difference in this one. Prediction: 49ers win.

Week 5 Sunday, October 7 vs Arizona
The Cardinals swept the 49ers in 2017 and this is unlikely to happen again, leaving the question of whether the 49ers will win one or both games against them. First time head coach Steve Wilks will bring his defensive coaching prowess to an already solid defense that let Tyrann Mathieu go, but the Cardinals' potential depends on whether Sam Bradford can accomplish anything besides continuing to fleece NFL organizations while providing little in return. The Cardinals are expected to regress in 2018, and though they could take one game against the Niners, we don't see it happening here. Prediction: 49ers win.

Week 6 Monday, October 15 @ Green Bay
According to ESPN's FPI, the Packers are ranked 7th overall and projected to win 9.5 games after adding Muhammad Wilkerson on defense and Jimmy Graham as a target for one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Would you pick against a healthy Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau on Monday night? Prediction: 49ers lose.

Week 7 Sunday, October 21 vs LA Rams
On paper, the Rams look like world beaters, having added Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh to an already stout defense and Brandin Cooks as a target for Jared Goff, they are favored to win the NFC West and are contenders for the NFC title. While it's possible they might not live up to expectations, they are unlikely to get swept by the Niners, leaving the possibility of their winning one or both games between these NFC West rivals. We see them splitting the series like last year and this being the game that the Rams win. Prediction: 49ers lose.

Week 8 Sunday, October 28 @Arizona
The Cardinals have owned the 49ers the past two seasons, sweeping the series in both 2017 and 2016. As we mentioned earlier, we don't see the Cardinals sweeping the Niners in 2018 but we do expect them to play the 49ers tough as usual. If David Johnson and Sam Bradford are healthy, they have what it takes to beat the Niners at least once in 2018. Given the difficulty of beating a divisional opponent twice in the same season and since we picked the Cards to lose their first matchup with the 49ers we will give the nod to the Cardinals in the desert. Prediction: 49ers lose.

Week 9 Thursday, November 1 vs Oakland
By the end of last season, the Bay Area's two football franchises appeared to be heading in different directions, even though the Raiders finished with the same record as and ahead of the Niners in team efficiency. Head coach Jon Gruden will likely help Derek Carr regain some of the confidence he displayed in 2016 but the Raiders' running game and defense are still suspect. The Raiders rank 18th in ESPN's 2018 FPI, compared to the 49ers being ranked 10th, and an apparent rift between Gruden and All-Pro Khalil Mack raises questions about how well this team coalesces around its new head coach. Based on these uncertainties and the Niners wanting to impress in a prime time, nationally televised rivalry game at home, it's hard to pick the Raiders in this spot. Prediction: 49ers win.

Week 10 Monday, November 12 vs New York Giants
The 49ers' first win of 2017 came in week 10 against the Giants with C.J. Beathard as the starting quarterback. Eli Manning looked like a player in decline last season and, as much potential rookie running back Saquon Barkley might have, we don't think adding an aging Brandon Marshall or Nate Solder will be enough to rejuvenate Manning, and Levi's will be pumped up for this Monday night game. Prediction: 49ers win.

Week 12 Sunday, November 25 @ Tampa Bay
After a promising first year as head coach. Dirk Koetter and his team started back-sliding in 2017, finishing 5-11 and 22nd in team efficiency. Jameis Winston finished 20th in QBR, down from 13th in 2016, and continues to display poor judgment off the field that has caused speculation of whether he will ever live up to the potential he has flashed in moments. ESPN's FPI are not believers in the 2018 Bucs, ranking them 22nd and projecting them to win 6.5 games. Though the Niners will be coming off of a short week and traveling cross country, we don't expect one of the Bucs' 2018 wins to come against the 49ers. Prediction: 49ers win.

Week 13 Sunday, December 2 @ Seattle
Winter has come for the Seahawks' vaunted Legion of Boom. A core part of the identity of the Seahawk teams that have had their way with the 49ers since the last time these teams met in the NFC Championship game are no longer with Seattle.. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett are gone and Earl Thomas is disgruntled. Russell Wilson is still one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league but this is the year the Niners breakthrough for a win against the Seahawks. Unfortunately, the Niners might not quite be ready to beat the 12th man in Seattle. Prediction: 49ers lose.

Week 14 Sunday, December 9 vs Denver
Vance Joseph had an inauspicious first year as a head coach, guiding the Broncos to a 5-11 record and finishing 29th in team efficiency and 32nd in weighted offense. Case Keenum may have had his career year in Minnesota in 2017 and questions remain about whether he can take a team to the next level. Royce Freeman may not be enough of a spark to elevate an anemic offense to go with a defense that seems to be on the decline from its peak of winning Super Bowl 50. This could be Vance Joseph's last year as head coach of the Broncos. Prediction: 49ers win.

Week 15 Sunday, December 16 vs Seattle
We said that this is the year the 49ers breakthrough for a win against the Seahawks and since we picked the Niners to lose in Seattle, their home tilt is the one we see the 49ers winning. Prediction: 49ers win.

Week 16 Sunday, December 23 vs Chicago
Last season, we saw Jimmy Garoppolo go into his hometown and, along with Robbie Gould exacting some revenge against his former team, getting the win in a close contest at Soldier Field. Roquan Smith improves the Bears defense but they are not quite yet the Monsters of the Midway of old. Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel are upgrades at wide receiver but they will only be as good as their quarterback and the jury is still out on Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky has not shown enough to pick him on the road in this spot. Prediction: 49ers win.

Week 17 Sunday, December 30 @ LA Rams
They say that history often repeats itself and that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If things play out as most expect, the Rams will likely have a playoff spot locked up by week 17 with little to play for and the Niners could be fighting for a Wild Card. That is the formula for déjà vu of week 17 in 2017. Prediction: 49ers win.

Based on our game-by-game analysis, we predict the 49ers to finish 10-6. Even if they lose their game against the Chargers or another team, the 2018 San Francisco 49ers have a reasonable chance to win 9 games, giving the bet of the 49ers to win over 8.5 games at +120 a decent value.

Poll

  • How many games will the 49ers win in 2018?
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7