2016 San Francisco 49ers game-by-game predictions

The San Francisco 49ers have the toughest strength of schedule in the NFL, along with the Atlanta Falcons. While the 49ers believe they have more depth than in 2015, they don't seem to have as much talent as last season's 5-11 team possessed. They did next to nothing in free agency, the only pickup of note being left guard Zane Beadles. As such, a 4-12 record seems just about right ... in April.

Week 1: Monday, Sept. 12, vs. Los Angeles Rams, 10:20 p.m. ET

Feeling nostalgic? Not the 49ers, who, like last year against the Minnesota Vikings, ride a wave of emotion under a new coach and on Monday Night Football to a dominant victory. But will the 49ers have peaked in Week 1, as they did a year ago? Record: 1-0

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 18, at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. ET

An emotional hangover on a short week and a cross-country trip. Sound familiar? Last year the Pittsburgh Steelers thumped the 49ers. Now, it's the NFC champs' turn. Record: 1-1

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 25, at Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 p.m. ET

A tough divisional roadie in Week 3 is the same formula as last season. The Cardinals embarrassed the 49ers in Arizona last year. The Seahawks, no doubt, would like to do the same. Record: 1-2

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2, vs. Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Cowboys have Super Bowl aspirations after injuries derailed their season last year. The 49ers are looking for some home cooking. Chip Kelly's familiarity with his former NFC East foe is just not enough. Record: 1-3

Week 5: Thursday, Oct. 6, vs. Arizona Cardinals, 8:25 p.m. ET

The Cardinals escaped Levi's Stadium with the help of questionable flags last season. The Niners are more focused this time around. Record: 2-3

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16, at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET

The Eastern time zone has not been kind to the 49ers of late. The Bills, having taken a gut punch last year as well as a shot to the ego of Rex Ryan, simply have a better defense. Record: 2-4

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23, vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:05 p.m. ET

The 49ers are looking forward to their bye week while the Buccaneers are coming into their own behind quarterback Jameis Winston. Home field rules the day. Record: 3-4

Week 8: Bye

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6, vs. New Orleans Saints, 4:05 p.m. ET

Bye weeks are usually lauded, but for the 49ers, it stops positive momentum with two victories in their previous three games. Drew Brees, even on grass, puts on a show at Levi's. Record: 3-5

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13, at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. ET

Remember what the Cardinals did to Colin Kaepernick in the desert last season? Blaine Gabbert, or whoever is under center for the 49ers, might be in for more of the same. Record: 3-6

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20, vs. New England Patriots, 4:25 p.m. ET

Tom Brady needs no extra motivation for his first game in his hometown team's yard. Pssst ... the Niners drafted Giovanni Carmazzi ahead of him in 2000. Record: 3-7

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27, at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET

A rematch of Super Bowl XIX. This time, the game is in South Florida, and not at Stanford. Record: 3-8

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4, at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. ET

The Bears handed the 49ers an overtime win on a silver platter last year. That won't happen again. Record: 3-9

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11, vs. New York Jets, 4:05 p.m. ET

East Rutherford vs. Santa Clara. Let's go with the hometown guys ... for now. Record: 4-9

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18, at Atlanta Falcons, 4:05 p.m. ET

Just like the Bears did, the Falcons handed the 49ers a game last year. This time, though, the Niners have to go across the country to face a team that needed to hit reset. Record: 4-10

Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24, at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. ET

The last time the 49ers beat the Rams at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum? Gerald Ford was still in the White House. That won't change this year. Record: 4-11

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1, vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. ET

Jed York does not own the 49ers -- the Seahawks do. Especially if they are revving up for another playoff run in the finale. Record: 4-12