The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2013 season as one of the favorites to come out of the NFC and make a return trip to the Super Bowl. They have weapons on both sides of the ball and consistently play tough, inspired football for coach Jim Harbaugh.
They took another step forward as being the team to beat by the off-season signings of Anquan Boldin and Nnamdi Asomugha. Boldin provides them another physical wide receiver, while Asomugha will help them neutralize go-to wide receivers.
The team will only go as far as their young quarterback Colin Kaepernick will take them. After defensive coordinators have had an off-season to prepare for Kaepernick, it will be interesting to see how he fares in his sophomore season.
I think Kaepernick passes the test because he makes good decisions with the ball. On top of that, he is very accurate, throws a catchable ball, and is lightening when he leaves the pocket.
Here is a look at the journey the 49ers will face as they look to get back to the Super Bowl.
Week 1 San Francisco vs Green Bay: The 49ers will be looking to set an early tone this season after losing in the Super Bowl. The defense will make it tough on quarterback Aaron Rodgers who will be adjusting to life without retired wide receiver Donald driver, and departed wide receiver Greg Jennings. Kaepernick and Frank gore will have their way on the ground against the Packers defense. San Francisco wins 31-24
Week 2 San Francisco at Seattle: Seattle is the team that most mirrors the 49ers. They have a quarterback in Russell Wilson who can beat you throwing the ball, as well as running it. They have a fierce running attack led by Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch. They also have a defense that is one of the best in the league.
The 49ers will lose on the road against a team that almost never loses at home. Seattle wins 27-24
Week 3 San Francisco vs Indianapolis: After losing to Seattle the 49ers will come out sharp and play a good game against a team on the rise. The Colts will come to play, but they just don’t have enough weapons to match the 49ers on either side of the ball.
The 49ers defense will force Andrew Luck into a couple mistakes. San Francisco wins 34-24
Week 4 San Francisco at St. Louis: Here is a little trivia. Which team did the 49ers play twice last season and not win a game against? That would be the St. Louis Rams my friend. In the you got to be kidding me department, the 49ers struggled against the Rams more than any other team last season.
2013 will be different as the 49ers win this one easily. Kaepernick will have a big day in the air, and the Rams will struggle on the ground after losing long-time workhorse Steven Jackson. San Francisco wins 30-16
Week 5 San Francisco vs Houston: Circle this one on your calendar as this will be a good one. With two high-powered offenses, the defenses will rise to the occasion in this hard-hitting affair.
Look for the 49ers to make a last minute drive for the go-ahead score. San Francisco wins 24-23
Week 6 San Francisco vs Arizona: Oh how the Cardinals have fallen. This one is not hard to pick. The 49ers will be cranking on all cylinders, while the Cardinals sputter with new starting quarterback Carson Palmer and running back Rashard Mendenhall.
The 49ers put up big points as they march up and down the field on the Cardinals. San Francisco wins 37-20
Week 7 San Francisco at Tennessee: At first glance I automatically picked the 49ers to win this one. But then I thought to myself, this is a perfect trap game for the 49ers. After a hot start, the 49ers will be playing on the road against a team they are supposed to beat, and that spells trouble.
Chris Johnson put up big games last year against good defenses, and he will do the same in this one. The Titans defense will play inspired ball and get some key turnovers to seal the victory. Tennessee wins 23-20
Week 8 San Francisco at Jacksonville: It will not be a good time for the Jaguars to face the 49ers, this after the loss to the Titans. Who are we kidding? There is never a good time for the Jaguars to face the 49ers, enough said! San Francisco wins 34-17
Week 9 Bye
Week 10 San Francisco vs Carolina: This will be a tougher game than expected as Cam Newton does his thing with some improbable plays to keep the Panthers close. Steve Smith will have his usual highlight circus-catch for a score as well.
But in the end, the 49ers will be too much and will go on to win this one. San Francisco wins 23-17
Week 11 San Francisco at New Orleans: This will be a thriller and a great matchup of two high-octane offenses in the Big Easy. It will be a big game for the Saints to show they once again belong among the elite teams in the league.
They will do just that as Drew Brees and his arsenal of weapons will get the job done against the vaunted 49ers defense. New Orleans wins 27-23
Week 12 San Francisco at Washington: Robert Griffin III should be back at full strength by this one, making it a tough matchup. Both teams possess good running games and mobile quarterbacks who can also burn you in the air.
The advantage goes to the 49ers’ receivers as they are more talented and make bigger plays. I’ll also give the edge to the 49ers’ defense, thus giving the game to the 49ers. San Francisco wins 31-27
Week 13 San Francisco vs St. Louis: Revenge will once again be on the mind of the 49ers as they aim to sweep the series in 2013. Just not enough offensive play-makers on the field for the Rams to match the likes of Kaepernick, Gore, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Boldin. San Francisco wins 35-20
Week 14 San Francisco vs Seattle: I love this matchup so much I want to propose a change to the NFC West schedule. Let’s clear the slate of Arizona and St. Louis for both of these teams and let them play each other six times! I know, wishful thinking, so I will deal with reality.
After losing to Seattle earlier in the season, the 49ers will not want to lose again. They will find a way to win this one. San Francisco wins 26-23
Week 15 San Francisco at Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers were an up-and-down team last year so you never know what to expect from them. The barometer for the team is quarterback Josh Freeman, when he is on the team is tough to beat.
They have an electric young running back in Doug Martin who played well for them last season. All that being said, the 49ers will grit this one out late. San Francisco wins 27-24
Week 16 San Francisco vs Atlanta: The Falcons are one of the few teams in the league that can match firepower with the 49ers. They have big-time players in Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez. They will be even stronger with the acquisition of Steven Jackson.
The Falcons are looking to take a step forward as an NFC power, and will make enough plays on offense to win this game on the road. Atlanta wins 28-24
Week 17 San Francisco at Arizona: The 49ers will have enough to play for not to take this game for granted. That means the Cardinals will not a have chance in this one. San Francisco wins 34-23
The 49ers will finish the season 12-4 and in position for another run in the playoffs. The rest of the league beware.