Week 16: Monday, December 25 vs Baltimore, 8:15 PM ET/5:15 PM PT
The 49ers are usually a strong performer on Monday Night Football, but after losing an ugly one to the Vikings in Week 7, their second contest doesn't bode well for them.
The Baltimore Ravens are a really good football team, led once again by quarterback Lamar Jackson and a fantastic defense.
Through eight games, the Ravens are top-10 in a bunch of categories (points for, points against, total yards allowed, passing yards and touchdowns allowed, interceptions, offensive rushing attempts, yards, touchdowns, and yards per carry) as they cement themselves among the elite teams in the AFC.
And even though they aren't great a throwing the ball, they run the ball so well that they are going to prove a difficult matchup for the 49ers defense, which is struggling of late to stop the run and historically have issues keeping mobile quarterbacks under wraps.
Jackson, of course, is the pinnacle of mobile QBs, and is likely to give the Niners fits.
This game feels like it will be similar to the Browns game except the Ravens' offense is much more capable of being explosive. And if the Niners offense can't get going while the defense gets the run around, it will be a tough night in Santa Clara.
Outcome: A tough loss on Monday night again to fall to 10-5.
Week 17: Sunday, December 31 at Washington, 1:00 PM ET/10 AM PT
It's a weird quirk that ultimatley doesn't matter, but it is funny how this is the second time in the second half of the season that the 49ers are playing one home game and one away game against two teams that are geographically close to one another.
But given that the Commanders not only shipped out Chase Young to the 49ers but also his fellow EDGE rusher Montez Sweat to Chicago prior to the trade deadline, it would seem that Washington doesn't expect the rest of their season to go well.
Quarterback Sam Howell is having a decent season in large part because of how good wide receiver Terry McLaurin is, but their defense has been pretty bad with Young and Sweat, so it stands to reason that they won't be any better for the rest of the year.
Outcome: The 49ers thank the Commanders for Chase Young by pounding them into the ground to push their win total to 11-5.
Week 18: Saturday, January 6 OR Sunday, January 7 vs LA Rams, TBD
Unlike 2019, this game won't sere as a de facto NFC Championship game, but the Rams appear like they'll have a lot to say about how the NFC West goes since they still play both the 49ers and Seattle had already beat the Seahawks in Week 1 on the road.
The Rams put up a good fight against the Niners in Week 2 before ultimately succmbing to a better team, so expecte this to be another tight game.
But the 49ers have now won nine straight regular season matchups against the Rams and with the NFC West crown potentially on the line, the Niners will push that streak to double digits and secure the win.
Outcome: 49ers slip past the Seahawks for the NFC West title with yet another home win over the Rams to finish at 12-5.
I'm not sure if 12 wins will be enough to secure the NFC's no.1 seed and this prediction is one fewer win than I conjectured in May, but given the way the last three weeks have gone for the 49ers, getting back to contention is a major victory.