49ers schedule: Way too early win/loss predictions for 2023

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85)
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) /

49ers’ 2023 home opponents

Arizona Cardinals

What to make of the Cardinals, who fired former head coach Kliff Kingsbury (who is headed to Thailand indefinitely) after a disastrous 2022 season, is anybody’s guess. A lot of the question of whether they’ll be able to turn the ship around and contend in the NFC West will depend on who comes in to steer it. An offensive-minded head coach seems to make sense considering how much the franchise has invested in quarterback Kyler Murray, but they also featured one of the weakest defenses in the NFL this year.

All this adds up to far too much to fix in one offseason and a game the 49ers should win.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are another mystery of the NFC West.

After winning the Super Bowl they fell harder than any former champion before them in 2022, and head coach Sean McVay’s waffling at the end of the campaign doesn’t bode well for a team that handed out draft picks like candy en route to that Super Bowl title. To put it lightly, there’s a great deal of flux in Los Angeles at the moment.

The most important element at play, however, is that the 49ers haven’t lost a regular-season game to the Rams since December 30, 2018. And while the NFC Championship loss is a blip on that otherwise impeccable record, expect the Niners to keep the streak going in 2023, especially if the Rams don’t improve.

Seattle Seahawks

Most 49ers fans were, shall we say, miffed by the Seahawks being in the playoff race in 2022. Especially when the expectation was that they’d be among the NFL’s worst teams heading into the season. Still, Seattle had to ride a fast start, a bevy of close games, and some late-season luck to get into the bracket, so the off-season is key for them.

And after sweeping the NFC West in 2022, the 49ers will be looking to do it again next season. A split to one of these three teams seems most likely, but I’ll bet on the Niners to take all three games at home.

Dallas Cowboys

The 49ers have ended the Cowboys’ season for two straight years but Dallas gets to visit Levi’s Stadium again in 2023, this time with lesser stakes.

But if there’s anything that the past two playoff matchups have proven it’s that the 49ers’ brand of football works well against the Cowboys, at least in their current iteration. With this 40th contest between these two storied franchises coming up in 2023 and each team having won 19 games (with one tie in 1969), this rubber match (at least for now) seems likely to go the 49ers’ way at the moment unless the Cowboys beef up their skill position players on offense.

New York Giants

The Giants got off to a fast start in 2022 before falling back down to earth and barely sneaking into the playoffs. They did beat the Vikings, but it’s likely they weren’t as good as their record showed, before getting trounced by the Eagles.

The biggest question for the G-Men will be what they do about their quarterback situation, a position currently being held down by Daniel Jones. The former Duke signal-caller has been wildly average as a starter for New York since being drafted no.6 overall in 2019 leaving the Giants to decide if the average quarterback they know is better than the potentially better one they don’t.

Next year feels like they’ll step back from the moderate success of 2022, so this feels like another home win for the 49ers.

Baltimore Ravens

This matchup comes down to one very important question: what will the Ravens do about Lamar Jackson?

Since winning the MVP in 2019, Jackson has seen a precipitous drop in his production and his availability. And after missing the final five games of the 2022 season, a fact that directly led to the Ravens falling short of the playoffs in spite of what Tyler Huntley’s making the Pro Bowl Games roster may tell you.

Jackson is more than likely getting the franchise tag while the franchise and their star quarterback try to work out a long-term deal, which means he’ll be a Raven, barring some sort of unexpected trade, when Baltimore travels to Levi’s.

If he plays, this matchup is one of the least favorable for the 49ers on their 2023 home schedule. Don’t be surprised if the Ravens come out on top here.

Cincinnati Bengals

The second of the home games against the AFC North opponents may be the toughest of all the 49ers’ matchups in 2023.

While the 49ers have beaten the Bengals the last two times the franchises have met, including a 41-17 smashing in Week 2 of 2019 as the 49ers began their Super Bowl run, Cincinnati is undoubtedly one of the marquee teams in the NFL, led by quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

This game will come down to the trenches and whether the Bengals, for the second offseason in a row, can fix their offensive line and match up well against what should be yet another top-notch 49ers’ defensive line.

If Cincinnati does improve that unit, it could be a long day for the 49ers’ front seven. Losing to both AFC North visitors is not out of the question.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs, on the other hand, are going to be in a pretty major state of flux for next season. Who steps in after the retirement of Tom Brady to play quarterback will be the major narrative of the offseason in Tampa.

The other problem is that Tampa built a short-term team around TB12, which means they have aging players all over the roster without much of a contingency plan for the club’s next steps.

All that to say, unless they convince another top quarterback to join them, there’s little reason to believe the 49ers will lose to Tampa, making it two years in a row with a victor at Levi’s against the Bucs.

Final home record: 6-2