With the NFL releasing the schedule on Thursday night, it's time to start making predictions and debating how the season will unfold for the San Francisco 49ers. Of course, a lot can change between now and September - or whenever the season will start - but let's have some fun and take a look at the 49ers' matchups this season.

Week 1: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

Prediction: 49ers 24 Cardinals 13
Year two with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray should be exciting. This Cardinals team made strides towards the end of the 2019 season and the addition of DeAndre Hopkins should help propel the team even further. However, the 49ers are still the better team and should have no problem taking care of business in Week One. Look for Arizona to surprise a few teams early on in 2020, though.

Week 2: San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets

Prediction: 49ers 20 Jets 13
New York is another interesting up and coming team. The Jets have a plethora of young talent on defense and quarterback Sam Darnold will be entering year three with his best supporting cast to date. The biggest question in this matchup is if Gang Green's offensive line can hold up against San Francisco's pass rush, and to me, the answer is a resounding no.

Week 3: San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants

Prediction: 49ers 30 Giants 10
I hope the 49ers like Met Life Stadium because they'll be playing back-to-back games there. This situation works in the Red and Gold's favor because the team can just stay in the area and essentially turn what could have been two East Coast trips into one. Also, the Giants are a bit of a mess and I would be surprised if they're very competitive next year.

Week 4: Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers

Prediction: 49ers 28 Eagles 24
This will be the first primetime game for San Francisco and the first matchup against another playoff team from the year before. Philadelphia made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, and new additions Darius Slay and Jalen Reagor should help the Eagles continue that tradition. Both teams have made a living at getting after the quarterback in recent years, so the offensive line that can keep its quarterback upright the longest will have a distinct advantage.

Week 5: Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers

Prediction: 49ers 27 Dolphins 3
I think the Dolphins could be a fun team to watch next season. They won five of their last nine games a year ago and added 11 players through the draft, six of which were top-100 picks. However, that also means they could stumble out of the gate and are a year or two away from competing with playoff contenders like the 49ers.

Week 6: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

Prediction: 49ers 24 Rams 20
Finally, a divisional game. The Rams certainly made some headlines this offseason by releasing running back Todd Gurley and trading wide receiver, Brandin Cooks. Only time will tell if those were the correct moves but right now, it's hard to see where the team has improved from last season. Being sellers could cost Los Angeles in 2020.

Week 7: San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots

Prediction: 49ers 20 Patriots 7
For the first time in about 20 years, the Patriots are far from a lock to make the playoffs this season. Tom Brady is out and Jarrett Stidham is in, which means head coach Bill Belichick is facing his biggest test since taking the job in 2000. Beyond who's under center, New England also lost a few key contributors on defense in Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. That's a lot of turnover to overcome in one year.

Week 8: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Prediction: Seahawks 28 49ers 24
San Francisco's annual trip to Seattle is consistently one of the organization's most challenging matchups. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett look like they could cause problems in the NFC West for the next few years and of course, quarterback and MVP candidate Russell Wilson is still at the helm. As long as the Seahawks' defense can keep the 49ers in check, I think this is where the Red and Gold suffer their first loss.

Week 9: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Prediction: Packers 31 49ers 20
Can Aaron Rodgers finally put together a decent performance in San Francisco? It certainly wasn't pretty a year ago as the 49ers outscored the Packers 47 to 28 in two contests last season. However, I think this game will be a difficult one for the Red and Gold as Thursday Night time slot means the team won't have much time to recover from what should be an exhausting divisional matchup the week before.

Week 10: San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints

Prediction: 49ers 17 Saints 13
A rematch of what was one of the most entertaining games of the 2019 season. The Saints have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL and will likely be a Super Bowl favorite throughout the year. This matchup could be an NFC Championship preview and I think the extra time to prepare will give San Francisco a big advantage.

Week 12: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams

Prediction: 49ers 31 Rams 17
Speaking of extra time to prepare, the 49ers will be coming off a bye week when they head down to Los Angeles. As previously mentioned, the Rams have done more subtracting than addition this offseason and that combined with the scheduling disadvantage will be difficult for them to overcome. San Francisco should have little to no problems taking care of business here.

Week 13: Buffalo Bills at San Francisco 49ers

Prediction: Bills 21 49ers 17
If any team is going to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC East, it's the Bills. Buffalo had an outstanding defense in 2019 that allowed the second-fewest points per game in the NFL (16.2), and the organization added wide receiver Stefon Diggs to help emerging quarterback Josh Allen. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict an upset because I think the Bills will be a very good team this year.

Week 14: Washington Redskins at San Francisco 49ers

Prediction: 49ers 35 Redskins 14
If my predictions are correct, this would be the perfect "bounce-back" game for the 49ers. Ron Rivera is a good coach who should be able to turn things around for the Redskins, but that likely won't happen in year one. Washington has some young talent but it's still far off from being a playoff-caliber team and will be playing for nothing but pride at this point in the season.

Week 15: San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys

Prediction: Cowboys 31 49ers 24
How much of an impact will new head coach Mike McCarthy be able to make? In my opinion, Jason Garrett dramatically held the Cowboys' talented roster back and I think the new man in charge will make them a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Dallas should have one of the most explosive offenses in the league this season with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, and CeeDee Lamb to go along with a stout offensive line that can neutralize San Francisco's pass rush. All of that combined with home-field advantage are what makes me think the Cowboys will win this matchup.

Week 16: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

Prediction: 49ers 27 Cardinals 23
I was tempted to go with another upset here because I like what the Cardinals have done this offseason. However, the 49ers will likely be fighting for a playoff spot or positioning here and because of that, I don't think they look past a division rival. This could be a close one though, as Arizona should be a lot better in 2020.

Week 17: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

Prediction: 49ers 30 Seahawks 24
For the second year in a row, San Francisco could be fighting for a division title with Seattle in Week 17. I expect these teams to split the season series once again and I'll give the nod to the home team each time. The 49ers should be able to put up points against the Seahawks' defense, and as long as Richard Sherman and company can keep those speed wideouts mentioned above in check, the Red and Gold will able to repeat as NFC West champs.

Final Record: 12-4

Losing DeForrest Buckner and Emmanuel Sanders hurts, but the organization has done its due diligence to replace them with first-round picks, Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuik. If those rookies step up, there is no reason to believe that the 49ers won't be Super Bowl contenders in 2020. However, San Francisco won't be flying under the radar anymore and will be the team to beat in the NFC, so it'll get every opponent's best shot week in and week out this season.