The San Francisco 49ers' 2023 season was a lot more exciting during the team's 5-0 start, with a 42-10 thrashing of the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football serving as the de facto coming-out party for the team. Despite a relatively easy start to the year, this Niners team was something to be reckoned with.
But since then, the 49ers have hit a bit of a wall -- well, three walls to be exact -- as they've lost three straight in progressively worse and more annoying fashion.
And yet San Francisco heads into the weekend of its bye sitting in a playoff spot, albeit a Wild Card slot and not as division winners, and with just a little over half of games to play.
Add to that the deadline-day trade for former Commanders EDGE Chase Young to add to the 49ers' already formidable (if underperforming) defensive line, and there is a ray of optimism shining through the proverbial heavy clouds looming over Santa Clara for the past few weeks.
Still, a glance at the 49ers' remaining games suggests the path back to the playoffs, let alone overtaking the surging Seahawks to secure the NFC West crown, won't be an easy one.
Of their remaining opponents, the Niners will play five of nine on the road, including back-to-back matchups in Seattle on Thanksgiving night and in Philadelphia on Dec. 3.
On top of all that travel, four of their remaining eight opponents (they still have the Seahawks twice) currently have winning records and are holding down playoff spots in their respective conferences while leading their divisions, with two others (the Rams and Cardinals) coming from the Niners' division.
But even with all that in mind, it's safe to say that this 49ers team is still among the best teams in the NFL when they are playing well, something they'll have to do every week for the rest of the season to keep themselves in the hunt for the playoffs.
So let's take a more in depth look at the rest of the schedule and attempt to predict the wins and losses for San Francisco.