49ers schedule: Initial win/loss predictions for the 2023 season

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
3 of 8
Elijah Mitchell
Minnesota Vikings v San Francisco 49ers / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Week 6: Sunday, October 15, at Cleveland, 1:00 PM ET/10 PM PT

I'll keep saying this, but the Browns are a weird team.

On paper, they have some strong players like running back Nick Chubb, EDGE rusher Myles Garrett, and wide receiver Amari Cooper. 

But then there’s the elephant in the room, although he’s hardly unspoken about: quarterback Deshaun Watson. The embattled signal-caller didn’t exactly earn his massive contract in his six games last season, finishing his campaign completing just 58% of his passes for 1102 yards, seven touchdowns, and five picks while looking generally lost. Even if he improves upon that, this still feels like a matchup the 49ers should win, even if it is too close for comfort.

49ers' W

Record: 6-0

Week 7: Monday, October 23, at Minnesota, 8:15 PM ET/5:15 PM PT

The Vikings were among the luckiest teams in NFL history last year on their way to a 13-4 record and a NFC North title. Eleven of their thirteen wins came by one score or fewer and they finished the year with a -3 point differential.

Yes, they should still be good on offense with quarterback Kirk Cousins, running back Dalvin Cook, and All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson and the addition of rookie first-rounder Jordan Addision out of USC.

But the defense remains an issue even with the likes of EDGE rushers Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith still in town along with safety Harrison Smith. If they don’t step up on that side of the ball, it may not matter how good the offense is.

Ultimately, this is a matchup that the 49ers have owned in recent memory and even though they have to travel to Minnesota, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t win this game. Especially in prime time, where Cousins tends to struggle.

49ers' W

Record: 7-0