With key players returning from injury and a significantly bolstered defense, the San Francisco 49ers and their fans head into the 2019 season with optimism and high expectations. Currently, sportsbooks have set the over/under for the 49ers 2019 regular season wins at 8 games with the over 8 at (-125) and under at (+105). Here we predict the 49ers 2019 season win total by game.

Week 1 Sunday, September 8th @ Tampa Bay, 1:25 pm PST
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost some players on defense but hired Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator and he is likely to get more out of the defensive roster. Bruce Arians isn't afraid to roll the bones, an upgrade at coach and, as a former quarterback, likely a better mentor for Jameis Winston. The Niners invested in their defense and Robert Saleh continues to improve as a coordinator but can one expect a lot more out of a secondary that was not significantly upgraded and grabbed only two interceptions last season?

Jimmy Garoppolo has his health and more weapons this season but there are still some lingering questions about how he will come off of an ACL-tear and if he and Kyle Shanahan can lead San Francisco to big road wins. ESPN's NFL Football Power Index is based off of expected offensive, defensive and special teams efficiency (FPI) and has the 49ers at -0.8 and Bucs at -2.8. With home field advantage and Tampa Bay having won the last two against San Francisco, including 27-9 last season in Week 12 at Tampa Bay, we give the edge to the Bucs. Prediction: 49ers lose

Week 2 Sunday, September 15th @ Cincinnati, 10:00 am PST
The Cincinnati Bengals move on from Marvin Lewis and into a brave new world with Zac Taylor as head coach. Bengals running back Joe Mixon can be effective when healthy and could continue to improve, but the Niners have the better squad overall and we expect them to be favored. The reason we see this as a potential let-down spot for San Francisco is because it will be the team's second straight game on the East Coast but this time with the early start. Given that Cincinnati will likely be returning home 0-1 after a loss in Seattle and wanting to get right in its home opener, we can see the Bengals squeaking one out in a hard fought contest. Prediction: 49ers lose

Week 3 Sunday, September 22nd vs. Pittsburgh, 1:25 pm PST
We expect the Pittsburgh Steelers to have a bounce-back season after missing the playoffs last year and likely to not miss a beat without Antonio Brown or LeVeon Bell as they always reload at those positions. The Steelers' FPI is at 0.7 compared to the Niners at -0.8, and Ben Roethlisberger has this strange habit of crapping the bed when he comes to the Bay Area, having lost his last four in NorCal, three in a row at Oakland and in 2011 in San Francisco. We see Jimmy G and Shanahan stepping up at home in this one. Prediction: 49ers win

Week 4 Bye

Week 5 Monday, October 7th vs. Cleveland, 5:15 pm PST
The Cleveland Browns appear to have fortified an already promising roster and should be a playoff contender in 2019. Baker Mayfield was shaky on the road early in his tenure but showed more poise in later away games and will have Nick Chubb ready to prove what he can do for a full season, not to mention Odell Beckham Jr. opposite his friend Jarvis Landry. Myles Garrett leads an improving defense and though the Niners will be coming off a bye, we are not sure they can match the talent on both sides of the ball or if this is where Shanahan gets his first Monday night win. Prediction: 49ers lose

Week 6 Sunday, October 13th @ LA Rams, 1:05 pm PST
We expect the Rams, like most Super Bowl losers, to take a step back this season and are not convinced Jared Goff is a star or Todd Gurley's legs are as good as they used to be. San Francisco could very well beat the Rams in 2019 but we don't see it happening in Los Angeles. Prediction: 49ers lose

Week 7 Sunday, October 20th @ Washington, 10:00 am PST
Expecting things to be tight for the Niners after two East Coast road games then the Steelers, Browns and Rams, and some seats to be possibly heating up at this juncture, we see San Francisco turning it around during this part of the schedule. The Washington Redskins may have a decent defense but it's hard to know what to expect from Case Keenum and Darrius Guice. Prediction: 49ers win

Week 8 Sunday, October 27th vs. Carolina, 1:05 pm PST
Carolina's season largely depends on Cam Newton's health. Not only is he coming off of shoulder surgery but he already has a foot sprain this year. How much better will his offensive line be in 2019 after a poor 2018? The Panthers' FPI is at -0.2, and while Christian McCaffrey is an emerging stud who will be coming back to some of his old haunts, we see the Niners pass rush getting to Cam at home and that being the difference. Prediction: 49ers win

Week 9 Thursday, October 31st @ Arizona, 5:20 pm PST
The Arizona Cardinals are coming off of a sweep of San Francisco in 2018, but it was against C.J. Beathard and the Niners' loss in Arizona last season was a complete meltdown. How confident can one feel in a team being led by head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray? Niners turn the tables on Arizona in 2019. Prediction: 49ers win

Week 10 Monday, November 11th vs. Seattle, 5:15 pm PST
Last season, we correctly predicted that the Niners would break through for a win against Seattle and that it would come at home. We see no reason why San Francisco doesn't continue to take steps forward while Seattle recedes a bit. Russell Wilson is a stud on Monday night but he continues to absorb more punishment. If Nick Bosa is still healthy at this point, and yes we appreciate the magnitude of that 'if' based on his, and frankly his brother's, health history, we expect the Niners pass rush to cause problems for Wilson. Prediction: 49ers win

Week 11 Sunday, November 17th vs. Arizona, 1:05 pm PST
San Francisco will not get embarrassed at home to the Cardinals two seasons in a row and will want to make sure a rookie head coach and rookie quarterback don't get to leave Santa Clara with a 'W'. Prediction: 49ers win

Week 12 Sunday, November 24th vs. Green Bay, 1:25 pm PST
Now that Aaron Rodgers is free of Mike McCarthy and fresh off of two straight seasons missing the playoffs, we expect him to have a season to remind everyone that he's that guy. With Palo Alto High School alum DaVante Adams emerging as a star and returning home for this game and Green Bay having focused on upgrading its defense, Jimmy Garoppolo may have a hard time keeping up with the gunslinger from Chico. Prediction: 49ers lose

Week 13 Sunday, December 1st @ Baltimore, 10:00 am PST
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens trended in the right direction late last season, making the playoffs, and now Jackson will have the added support of being the unquestioned starter from day one and having Greg Roman -- who had past success with a mobile quarterback in Colin Kaepernick -- as offensive coordinator. Baltimore's defense may not have marquee names but it will always play tough at home and we don't see it taking a step back in 2019. Prediction: 49ers lose

Week 14 Sunday, December 8th @ New Orleans, 10:00 am PST
Drew Brees is a Hall of Famer but showed some signs of his arm slowing down toward the end of last season. He still has super stars in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas and this game is in the Superdome. Prediction: 49ers lose

Week 15 Sunday, December 15th vs. Atlanta, 1:25 pm PST
After making it to the playoffs in 2017, Atlanta's season was derailed by injury in 2018. Now healthy, the Falcons might exceed expectations. The Falcons have a FPI of 2.0 and should be a tough out in 2019. We see this game as a coin flip but are guessing that Kyle Shanahan and Tevin Coleman might have tricks up their sleeves for their old team with the added benefit of home field here. Prediction: 49ers win.

Week 16 Sunday, December 22nd vs LA Rams, TBD
We previously mentioned our expectation of the Rams taking a step back and San Francisco getting one against them in 2019. Since we predicted the Niners to lose in LA, we see the 49ers securing a season split at home. Prediction: 49ers win

Week 17 Sunday, December 29th @ Seattle, 1:25 pm PST
Though we expect the Niners to continue to gain ground against Seattle, we can't yet feel confident in picking them to beat Russell Wilson and the Twelfth Man in Seattle or sweep a season series from the Seahawks. Prediction: 49ers lose

Based on our game-by-game analysis, we predict that the San Francisco 49ers will finish 8-8 in 2019, which may not be enough to make the playoffs but is a significant improvement from 2018. How many games do you think the Niners will win in 2019? Vote in the poll below.

Poll

  • How many games will the 49ers win in 2019?
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5