San Francisco 49ers

49ers season forecast: Tomsula’s first season ends same as Harbaugh’s last

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) runs for nine yards in the first quarter as the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, August 23, 2015 at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) runs for nine yards in the first quarter as the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, August 23, 2015 at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.


Sept. 14, vs. Minnesota, 7:20 p.m., ESPN: This game serves as a quick barometer for the 49ers. The Vikings weren’t very good last season – they went 7-9 – and have a young quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. Lose at home to Minnesota and the doom-and-gloom predictors will be at full throat. Win, and perhaps the 49ers’ offseason of woe wasn’t as terrible as many perceived. Win (1-0)


Sept. 20, at Pittsburgh, 10 a.m., Ch. 40: Jim Tomsula can’t be happy with this schedule. After coming off a Monday night game to open the season, the 49ers fly across the country to face the Steelers. On top of that, Pittsburgh – actually nearby Homestead, Pa. – is Tomsula’s hometown. Talk about pressure. Meanwhile, the Steelers open the season on Thursday, which means they have three extra days to prepare. Loss (1-1)


Sept. 27, at Arizona, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 40: Two big offseason storylines were the 49ers’ acquisition of longtime Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett and the Cardinals’ signing of longtime 49ers guard Mike Iupati. Now neither likely will play in the game. San Francisco released Dockett before the start of the season and Iupati had knee surgery in mid-August and is expected to miss the first few games of the season. Loss (1-2)

Read Next



Oct. 4, vs. Green Bay, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 40: Nobody has been a bigger Packers killer than Colin Kaepernick, whose family is from Wisconsin and who grew up rooting for Brett Favre. Kaepernick has yet to lose to Green Bay as a starter whereas counterpart Aaron Rodgers, who was a Joe Montana fan as a boy, hasn’t beaten the 49ers since 2010. That changes this week. Loss (1-3)


Oct. 11, at N.Y. Giants, 5:30 p.m., Ch. 3: Last year’s game against New York featured a sideline tirade by Ahmad Brooks, a game-clinching interception by Chris Borland and a concussion to Anthony Davis that ended up having major repercussions. No wonder the NFL decided to put this one in prime time. Win (2-3)


Oct. 18, vs. Baltimore, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 13: Jim Harbaugh wasn’t happy when he and the 49ers had to fly cross country on a short week to take on his brother’s team on Thanksgiving in 2011. This time, the Ravens and John Harbaugh are heading in the opposite direction. Too bad Jim isn’t around to greet him. Loss (2-4)


Oct. 22, vs. Seattle, 5:25 p.m., Ch. 13: Jim Harbaugh and former offensive coordinator Greg Roman never were able to solve Seattle’s defense. This year, the 49ers have weapons to stretch the Seahawks deep and perhaps take advantage of the aggressive one-on-one coverage they famously employ. But San Francisco’s offensive line needs to give Kaepernick time to make those throws. Loss (2-5)


Nov. 1, at St. Louis, 10 a.m., Ch. 40: The Rams are considered the front-runners to become Los Angeles’ team next season. That means this could be the 49ers’ final trip to the “Gateway to the West” – or at least until St. Louis gets another franchise. The flight from San Jose to St. Louis is 1,729 miles. Seattle to St. Louis is the only longer intra-division trip. Loss (2-6)


Nov. 8, vs. Atlanta, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 40: The 49ers turned off the lights at Candlestick Park with a stirring win over the Falcons in 2013. Perhaps they also can spark a better home-field advantage at Levi’s Stadium against Atlanta. The 49ers went 4-4 last year at their new venue, which is better known for divots and empty seats than its atmosphere. Win (3-6)



Nov. 22, at Seattle, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 40: As any astute 49ers fan can tell you, their team hasn’t won in Seattle since 2011. But at least the past two tries have been respectable. The 49ers have an extra week to prepare and should have starting center Daniel Kilgore back, a nice addition given the din that awaits them. Does it turn the tide? Loss (3-7)


Nov. 29, vs. Arizona, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 40: Sure, the 49ers have a rough road losing streak against Seattle, but consider this: The Cardinals haven’t beaten the 49ers on the road since 2008. The only 49ers starters who were on that squad: Joe Staley and Vernon Davis. Win (4-7)


Dec. 6, at Chicago, 10 a.m., Ch. 40: The 49ers’ offense will encounter two familiar faces in Chicago, former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and former secondary coach Ed Donatell, both of whom were passed over for promotion by San Francisco. They’d love to stick it to their old team. The Bears’ lack of talent will prevent that. Win (5-7)


Dec. 13, at Cleveland, 10 a.m., Ch. 40: Every season contains a surprise win and a surprise loss. This is the latter. The 49ers have back-to-back trips to the Midwest in December, and this time the travel – and the winter – catches up to them. Loss (5-8)


Dec. 20, vs. Cincinnati, 5:30 p.m., Ch. 3: Kaepernick continues his revenge tour. He’s beaten two of the quarterbacks drafted ahead of him in 2011, Cam Newton and Jake Locker. A third is his backup, Blaine Gabbert. He gets a shot at No. 4, Andy Dalton, in this game. (No. 5, Christian Ponder, beat the 49ers when he was with the Vikings in 2012, but his counterpart at that time was Alex Smith). Win (6-8)


Dec. 27, at Detroit, 10 a.m., Ch. 40: The 49ers go east of the Mississippi for the third time in December. Thankfully, this game is indoors. The last time the 49ers were in Detroit, their coach punctuated the win with an infamous handshake. Tomsula is a bit more congenial than his predecessor. Win (7-8)


Jan. 3, vs. St. Louis, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 40: The 49ers have not lost the regular-season finale since 2007. They keep their winning streak alive, but it’s not enough to make the playoffs. Tomsula’s first season ends the same way Harbaugh’s final season finished. Win (8-8)

Read Next



Matt Barrows:, @mattbarrows, read more about the team at