Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 5/19/12

Week 1: @ GB

The Niners will have their stones tested right out of the gate at Lambeau Field. 

The Packers' defense met with a lot of criticism last season, and they'll have their hands full with Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, and Randy Moss.  How much Alex Smith improves will obviously play a big role in whether or not the Niners win. 

 

 

Week 2: vs. DET

The Lions will likely be looking to dish up some cold revenge in prime time after suffering their first defeat of the 2011 season at the hands of the 49ers.  I'm sure Jim Schwartz would like nothing more than to give Jim Harbaugh a nice, big slap on the back after the game.

 

Week 3: @ MIN

San Francisco's defense will have their work cut out for them if Adrian Peterson is carrying the ball.  How effective Christian Ponder and the Vikings' offense will be in the 2012 season is still up in the air, but labeling this game an easy win for the Niners could be a mistake.

 

Week 4: @ NYJ

Tebow.  There I mentioned him.  The 49ers' defense should be able to keep Sanchez & Co. at bay, but Harbaugh's run-heavy offense might have a long day ahead of them against Rex Ryan's defense.

 

Week 5: vs. BUF

If Buffalo repeats its early season success from 2011, then this game will be interesting.  If the Bills bring it hard, then the 49ers' defense will have their hands full with Steve Johnson and Fred Jackson.  If they don't, then Frank Gore and Vernon Davis will run all over them.

 

Week 6: vs. NYG

Another exciting rematch!  The Niners were a hair away from playing in the Super Bowl, but the Giants came out on top of a long, hard struggle in the NFC Conference Championship.  In an interesting twist of fate, we'll get to watch Mario Manningham help his new team defeat his former team.

 

Week 7: vs. SEA

It's no secret that Pete Carroll isn't fond of Jim Harbaugh, and he'll get a chance to show him with some new guns on his team in this Thursday night game.  If Matt Flynn is throwing the ball, then the Niners could be presented with a challenge.  Containing Marshawn Lynch is a full-time job by itself, so adding in Sydney Rice, Golden Tate, and whoever else Flynn flings the ball to could be enough to make Harbaugh sweat.

 

Week 8: @ ARI

The Cardinals surprised the 49ers the last time they played, so don't expect Harbaugh and his players to go easy on them.  It could certainly be a close game, especially if John Skelton is under center, but I can't see Arizona walking away with a win, especially after San Francisco gets ten days to rest.

 

 

Week 9: Bye

 

Week 10: vs. STL

This should be an interesting game.  The Rams have made some significant changes in the offseason, and will be eager to show their rivals how much better they are this season.  I can't pull the trigger on them winning yet, but I would be shocked if they don't make it a close game.

 

Week 11: vs. CHI

Assuming Jay Cutler and Matt Forte are at 100% for this Monday night game, it will be good.  The Bears had a promising season yanked out from under them last season, so they'll be looking to steam-roll over as many teams as possible.  The 49ers will have to play their best ball, both offensively and defensively.

 

Week 12: @ NOS
This could be an ugly game for the 49ers. The Saints are the bad guys of 2012 and will embrace a "us against the world" mentality much like the 2007 Patriots did.  That, added with the sweet revenge New Orleans will be looking to dish out to San Francisco for the last second loss they suffered in the Divisional game will make the defense play like they're getting paid overtime.

 

Week 13: @ STL

Two weeks later, the Niners meet their rivals again on foreign turf.  Depending on how the first game goes, this game could be more of a challenge.  Maybe - just maybe - the Rams will pull off an upset. Probably not, though.

 

Week 14: vs. MIA

How Miami does in 2012 is still up in the air, so this is a tough game to call.  If the Dolphins play as tough as they did in the last half of last season, then the 49ers will have to play hard to win this one.  If they slack off, Miami could walk away with the W.

 

Week 15: @ NE

This prime time game is the hardest to call.  The Patriots are always a force to be reckoned with, even if their defense isn't scary.  Whether or not the 49ers win depends largely on their defense.  The more time they keep Brady and the Patriots' offense off the field, the more Smith and Gore can chip away yardage.  Oh, and Randy Moss is playing against his old team, which is mildly interesting.

 

Week 16: @ SEA

Round two of Harbaugh vs. Carroll is at CenturyLink Field, and it could be uglier than round one.  The 49ers will likely be the Seahawks' main competition in the NFC West   If the Seahawks lose in Week 7, they have to win here.  If they win in Week 7, the pressure will be on to sweep them (and win their division).

 

Week 17: vs. ARI

I can't see this game being much different from Week 8.  It's certainly possible the Cardinals could stage an upset - something they are capable of doing - but that's not something I can predict.  So, I'll go with my gut and say San Francisco sweeps Arizona.

Final thoughts: By now, I've learned not to flat out predict which games a team will win and lose.  On any given Sunday, anything can happen.  The assertion that the 49ers had a weak schedule last season cannot be applied to them this next season.  Every game presents a significant challenge in one fashion or another, and the 49ers will have to play even harder to get as far as they did last season - let alone further.



MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Newspaper runs insensitive headline following Mets win

Curt Schilling plans to run against Elizabeth Warren in 2018

WATCH: Tebow homers on first pitch he sees in first game

Report: Garoppolo still dealing with shoulder pain, mobility

JJ Watt placed on IR, reportedly expected to miss rest of 2016

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Nationals GM: Strasburg ‘unlikely to pitch in NLDS’

Nebraska regent wants players kicked off team for kneeling during anthem

WATCH: Wayne Gretzky tells the hilarious story of his secret Hall of Fame visit

Wilson Ramos done for year with torn ACL

Sam Allardyce, English FA announce contract termination just 67 days into the job

Report: Clint Dempsey to miss rest of 2016 MLS season

Breaking down baseball’s Cy Young ballot

TailGreater: 'Sterngating' with the Huskies

Can anyone challenge the Cavs in murky Eastern Conference?

2016 Ryder Cup preview: Five things to watch this weekend

Lesser known MMA fighters who could be ready for the WWE

Box Score: 9/28 - Bosh, FIFA, Ali and Mangenius

Geno Smith deletes Instagram post possibly critical of Jets

Most glaring flaw for each MLB playoff contender

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Breaking down baseball’s Cy Young ballot

TailGreater: 'Sterngating' with the Huskies

Can anyone challenge the Cavs in murky Eastern Conference?

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Kevin Garnett's unique NBA career proves anything is possible

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker