A few months ago, I predicted the 49ers would win nine games this season.
I’m starting to think I was wrong.
The Niners currently have two wins. To get to nine, they would have to win seven of their next four games, and that just doesn’t seem doable.
But they definitely can win a few of their next four games. They’ve won two of their past three, they have momentum and a quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, who they hope is the future of the franchise.
Here’s a close look at the remaining schedule, and a prediction of how many games the Niners will win.
Week 14: at the Houston Texans (4-8).
If the Texans had rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson and three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, the 49ers would lose.
But, the Texans don’t have them. Watt fractured his tibial plateau against the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 8, and Watson tore his ACL during practice on Nov. 2.
With Watson at quarterback, the Texans record was 3-3. He threw 19 touchdown passes and his passer rating was 103.
With his replacement, Tom Savage, the Texans record is 1-5. Savage has thrown five touchdown passes and his passer rating is 71.8.
With Watson, the Texans scored more than 32 points in five consecutive games. With Savage, the Texans have scored more than 16 points just once.
The Texans won’t score enough points to compete. The Niners probably can kick a bunch of field goals and never cross the goal line and still win, just like last week against the Bears.
I’m not saying this will be an easy game. The 49ers still have a bad offensive line, and the Texans have Jadeveon Clowney, one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. He has nine sacks this season.
But even with Clowney, the Texans defense is giving up 25.8 points per game. As long as Clowney doesn’t injure Garoppolo, the 49ers should score 20 points and win.
Week 15: vs. the Tennessee Titans (8-4).
The Titans are tied for first place in the AFC South and have won six of their past seven games. They beat the Texans 24-13 last week.
This will be a tough game for the 49ers.
But not an impossible game. The Titans aren’t dominant like their record suggests. They’ve given up 16 more points than they have scored this season. They have a good record because they’re winning close games against bad teams. Against good teams, the Titans tend to get blown out.
The Niners aren’t a good team. But with Garoppolo, they may be mediocre enough to beat the Titans in a close game at Levi’s Stadium.
The Titans aren’t good on the road. They have scored 18.3 points per game and allowed 25.7 points per game away from their home stadium.
Their quarterback, Marcus Mariota, is especially bad away from home. His road passer rating is 65.5.
If the Niners score 20 points, they will win. I think they’ll score 20.
Week 16: vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4).
Before the season started, I thought this would be an easy win for the Niners. The Jaguars won just three games in 2016 and their quarterback, Blake Bortles, was awful. His quarterback rating was 78.8.