San Francisco 49ers

49ers season forecast

WEEK 1

Sept. 12, vs. Los Angeles, 7:20 p.m., ESPN: Let the new in-state rivalry begin. The prediction is the Chip Kelly era in San Francisco starts the same way the Jim Tomsula era did: With a rousing victory on “Monday Night Football.” Will Kelly’s follow-up be any better? Win (1-0)

WEEK 2

Sept. 18, at Carolina, 10 a.m., Ch. 40: The 49ers not only have a short week but a cross-country trip and an early kickoff. The Panthers have nine days to prepare for Kelly’s offense. Advantage – big advantage – Carolina. Loss (1-1)

WEEK 3

Sept. 25, at Seattle, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 40: The rough road continues. This will be a bit of a homecoming for former Oregon coach Kelly, who hasn’t played a game in the Pacific Northwest since he left the Ducks after the 2012 season. He may not want to return. Loss (1-2)

WEEK 4

Oct. 2, vs Dallas, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 40: The 49ers likely will face rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, a fourth-round pick who was a sensation in the preseason. Before you ask: No, the 49ers didn’t show much interest in Prescott in the run-up to the draft. Win (2-2)

WEEK 5

Oct. 6, vs. Arizona, 5:25 p.m., Ch. 13, NFL: The Cardinals swept the series last season but squeaked out a 19-13 victory at Levi’s Stadium. Something to spice up the division rivalry: Cardinals coach Bruce Arians once referred to Kelly’s attack as a “great college offense.” Kelly was with the Philadelphia Eagles at the time. Loss (2-3)

WEEK 6

Oct. 16, at Buffalo, 10 a.m., Ch. 40: The last time the 49ers were in upstate New York, Alex Smith was their quarterback and Arnaz Battle was their leading wide receiver. On their return, they’ll find some familiar faces: Former offensive coordinator Greg Roman runs Buffalo’s offense, and Kelly’s one-time tailback in Philadelphia, LeSean McCoy, runs the ball for the Bills. Loss (2-4)

WEEK 7

Oct. 23, vs. Tampa Bay, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 40: Early in their search for a new coach, the 49ers interviewed then-Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. He’ll get a chance to show them what they missed; the Buccaneers promoted Koetter to head coach a week later. Win (3-4)

WEEK 8, BYE

WEEK 9

Nov. 6, vs. New Orleans, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 40: Including the preseason and postseason, the 49ers have played in New Orleans five times since 2011. This will be the Saints’ first visit to the 49ers’ side of the bay since their memorable divisional playoff loss at Candlestick Park in the 2011 season. Win (4-4)

WEEK 10

Nov. 13, at Arizona, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 40: This almost feels like returning to the scene of the crime. Last year’s game in Glendale, Ariz., ended with four interceptions of Colin Kaepernick – two returned for touchdowns – a 47-7 Cardinals win and the quarterback’s confidence in tatters. One question mark entering 2016: Has that confidence bounced back? Loss (4-5)

WEEK 11

Nov. 20, vs. New England, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 13: There’s a brotherhood among New England-area coaches. Bill Belichick once invited New Hampshire native Kelly to Patriots headquarters so he could learn more about Kelly’s fast-paced offense. Belichick will do all the teaching in this game. Loss (4-6)

WEEK 12

Nov. 27, at Miami, 10 a.m., Ch. 40: The 49ers will travel 25,668 miles this year, fourth most behind the Rams, Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. Approximately 14,000 of those miles will be in the last five weeks, beginning with this 5,200-mile round trip to South Florida. Loss (4-7)

WEEK 13

Dec. 4, at Chicago, 10 a.m., Ch. 40: The 49ers’ only road win in 2015 came in overtime in Chicago when Blaine Gabbert hit Torrey Smith for a 71-yard touchdown. If Gabbert is still the starter at this point in the season, it’s a fairly good sign he’ll be the starter in 2017. Loss (4-8)

WEEK 14

Dec. 11, vs. N.Y. Jets, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13: You know how you like to complain that your favorite NFL team got ripped off by the league’s schedule makers? The Jets make their cross-country trip following a Monday night game against the Indianapolis Colts. Win (5-8)

WEEK 15

Dec. 18, at Atlanta, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 40: In 2013, the Falcons played in the last game at Candlestick Park that featured NaVorro Bowman’s 89-yard interception return for a touchdown. The 49ers will play in what likely will be the next-to-last game at the Georgia Dome. A $1.5 billion stadium nearby is expected to open next year. Loss (5-9)

WEEK 16

Dec. 24, at Los Angeles, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 40: Yes, the 49ers must go on the road for a Christmas Eve game. But going to Los Angeles is a lot easier than flying to St. Louis. The odds they face No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff at this point in the season seem pretty good and so do their chances against the Rams. Win (6-9)

WEEK 17

Jan. 1, vs. Seattle, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 40: One of these teams will play with playoff position at stake. The other will play with draft position at stake. Loss (6-10)

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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