FanPost

Early Look and Analysis of 49ers 2011 Opponents

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via www.latimes.com

Many of us proclaimed the 49ers would win 10 games or more in 2010, mostly because of the easy schedule the 49ers had. However, it didn't work out that way. Games against Kansas City and Tampa Bay were marked wins prior to the season, only to have these two teams combine for 20 wins. Consequently, the 49ers were blown away in both games. Taking a look at the 2011 49ers opponent list, i have come to the conclusion that may not be as difficult as the 2010 season. Instead of playing the AFC West and the NFC South, the 49ers will be taking on the AFC North andNFC East. Two of the toughest divisions over the last five seasons. That said, with the Seattle beating St. Louis in week 17, the 49ers will be playing 3rd place schedule, instead of a 2nd place schedule. This means of course, that San Francisco will be taking on Tampa Bay and Detroit, not Green Bay and New Orleans. San Francisco's 2010 outer division opponents winning percentages was .535, compared to .523 for their 2011 opponents. And, of course we get to see the "Harbowl", which will probably be picked up as a part of NBC's Sunday Night schedule. For the purposes of this article i will focus on the 49ers outer division schedule, and not their NFC West opponents. We have a better understanding of the three teams on their division, so i have decided to focus on the other ten games the 49ers will play in 2011.

After the jump i list the 2011 opponents for San Francisco, and give an early analysis of each teams 2010 season, off-season outlook and 2011 expectations. Keep in mind that this is an extremely early look, and a whole off-season (hopefully) awaits us.

 

San Francisco 49ers 2011 opponents

Home

St. Louis, Arizona, Seattle, New York (G), Dallas, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay

Away

St. Louis, Arizona, Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Detroit

 

At Home

New York Giants:         2010 Record: 10-6                   2nd Place NFC East

Offense: 10th in Passing and 6th in Rushing        Defense: 9th in Passing and 8th in Rushing

Leaders:

Eli Manning: 62.9 Comp%, 4,002 Yards, 31 TD, 25 INT, 7.4 Yards per attempt, 85.3 rating

Ahmad Bradshaw: 1,235 rush yards, 314 rec yards, 4.4 avg, 8 td, 7 fumbles

Hakeem Nicks: 79 receptions, 1,052 yards and 11 TD

Sacks: Justin Tuck (11.5), Osi Umenyiora (11.5).

Tackles: Terrell Thomas (81), Antrel Rolle (76)

INT: Terrell Thomas (5), Corey Webster (4)

Major Free Agents: RB- Ahmad Bradshaw, WR- Steve Smith, TE- Kevin Boss, DE- Mathias Kiwanuka, LB- Gerris Wilkinson

Draft Picks: 1(19), 2(52), 3(83), 4(116). 6(180), 7(210)

Mocking Their Draft: 1. RB- Mark Ingram, Alabama

"According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants had 80 scrimmage plays of 20 or more yards this season (58 passes, 22 runs), tying them with the Philadelphia Eagles for the highest total in the NFL. Their 14 touchdown passes of 20-plus yards led the league". (New York Giants Website)

Analysis: I think many people would have assumed that Tom Coughlin would have been fired after a second consecutive season missing the playoffs, however, 10 wins is nothing to frown about. There will be a lot of questions for the Giants heading into the off-season. Their starting RB, TE, and #2 WR are going to be free agents. Additionally, Brandon Jacobs really doesn't want to return to the Giants. If you take those offensive weapons away from the Gaints, they are extremely mediocre on that side of the ball. You couple that with an average defense, at best, and you have all the makings for a down year in 2011. However, 23 sacks from Osi and Tuck should have the 49ers worried. This is the defense that caused injuries to Tony Romo and Matt Moore, among others. If they are able to retain both Jacobs and Bradshaw, one thing should have the G-men worried (9 fumbles between the two). Manning's 25 INTs should also be a worry for New York.

 

Dallas Cowboys:           2010 Record: 6-10      tied for last NFC East

Offense: 6th in Passing and 16th in Rushing          Defense: 26th in Passing and 12th in Rushing

Leaders

Jon Kitna: 65.7 Comp%, 2,365 Yards, 16 TD, 12 INT, 7.4 Yards per Attempt, 88.9 Rating

Felix Jones: 800 Rush Yards, 450 Receivng Yards, 2TD, 2 Fumbles

Jason Witten: 94 Receptions, 1,002 Yards, 9 TD

Miles Austin: 69 Receptions, 1,041 Yards, 7 TD

Sacks: DeMarcus Ware (15.5),, Anthony Spencer (5)

Tackles: Bradie James (81)

INT: Terence Newman (5), Gerald Sensabaugh (5)

Major Free Agents: T- Doug Free and DE- Marcus Spears

Trade Block: RB- Tashard Choice and/or RB- Marion Barber

Draft Picks: 1(9). 2(40), 3(71), 4(109), 5(140), 6(171), 7(209)

Mocking Their Draft: 1. CB- Prince Amukamara, Nebraska

"The Dallas Cowboys went from having one of the best defenses in the league in 2009 to setting a franchise record for most points allowed in 2010" (Daniel Nations, Dallas Cowboy Examiner)

 

Analysis: And you think it was a disastrous 2010 season for our San Francisco 49ers? Well, look at the Dallas Cowboys. A season that started withSuper Bowl expectations came crashing down with a 1-7 record and season ending injury to Tony Romo in week 7. Dallas dropped from a top 10 defense, to the bottom of the league in just one season. Miles Austin and Jason Witten dropped many passes, Dez Bryant was injured and the secondary looked old and horrendous. Needless to say, it was a horrible season for Dallas. Couple that with the fact that Wade Phillips was fired mid-season. Jason Garrett had his interim title removed, and is now their full time head coach. Just recently they brought in Rob Ryan to lead the defense, but it is the personnel that needs to be fixed on that side of the ball. The secondary is in complete shambles as Terence Newman started to show his age, and Mike Jenkins look disinterested at time. I know that Dallas and San Francisco would love to renew their rivalry of the 80s and 90s, but the Cowboys have much work to do. The talent is there, they just need to put it all together.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers:        2010 Record: 12-4      1st Place AFC North

Offense: 14th in Passing and 11th in Rushing       Defense: 12th in Passing and 1st in Rushing

Leaders

Ben Roethlisberger: 61.7 Comp%, 3,200 Yards, 17 TD, 5 INT, 8.2 Yards per Attempt, 97.0 QB Rating

Rashard Mendenhall: 1,273 Rush Yards, 167 Receiving Yards, 3.9 Avg, 13 TD, 2 Fumbles

Mike Wallace: 60 Receptions, 1,257 Yards, 10 TD

Hines Ward: 59 Receptions, 755 Yards, 5 TD

Tackles: Lawrence Timmons (95)

Sacks: James Harrison (10.5), LaMarr Woodley (10)

INT: Troy Polamalu (7)

Major Free Agents: T- Willie Colon, LB- LaMarr Woodley, CB- Ike Taylor

Draft Picks: To be determined by playoff results. However, the Steelers will have a pick in every round, as they didn't acquire or trade any picks from the 2011 draft

Mocking Their Draft: 1. OT- Tyron Smith, USC

 "Team president Art Rooney II gave coach Mike Tomlin a mandate to improve the running game, and Tomlin's offense did just that. The Steelers improved from a No. 19 ranking in rushing in 2009 (112.1 yards per game) to No. 11 this season (120.2)" (John Harris, Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

Analysis: It comes as no surprise that Pittsburgh will be playing in the AFC Championship Game this upcoming weekend. This is probably one of the best all around teams in the NFL, as referenced by their #1 overall defense. That said, Woodley and Taylor are both free agents, and the Steelers have a history of not getting into a bidding war for their free agents. This franchise has become a machine in building through the draft, and that should make them contenders for the foreseeable future. Home or away, this will be one of the toughest games for the 49ers in 2011. Big Ben has increased his accuracy and stats over the course of his career, he has two Super Bowl rings (and counting), and now has a solid running attack in Mendenhall. The offensive line could be an issue, especially with an immobile QB, free agent tackle (Colon), and aging vet (Adams). Look for them to upgrade that position via the draft this season. Pouncey, their 1st round pick in 2010, is an absolute best on the o-line. Hines Ward isn't getting any younger, and Mike Wallace drops a lot of passes; that needs to be considered for an upgrade this off-season as well.

 

Cleveland Browns:  2010 Record: 5-11               3rd Place AFC North

Offense: 29th in Passing and 20th in Rushing      Defense: 18th in Passing and 27th in Rushing 

Leaders

Colt Mccoy: 60.8 Comp%, 1,576 Yards, 6 TD, 9 INT, 7.1 Yards per Attempt, 74.5 Rating

Peyton Hillis: 1,117 Rush Yards, 4.4 Avg, 477 Receiving Yards, 13 TD, 8 Fumbles

Ben Watson: 68 Receptions, 763 Yards, 3 TD

Tackles: T. J Ward (80)

Sacks: Marcus Benard (7.5)

INT: Joe Haden (6)

Major Free Agents: QB- Seneca Wallace, CB- Eric Wright

Draft Picks: 1(6), 2(37), 3(70), 4(101), 5(134), 6(163), 6(165)

Mocking Their Draft: 1. DL- Marcell Dareus, Alabama

" As a rookie in 2010, McCoy completed 135-of-222 attempts for 1,576 yards and six touchdowns against nine interceptions.McCoy set Browns rookie records with a 74.5 quarterback rating and a 60.8 completion percentage" (Matt Florjancic, Cleveland Browns Website)

Analysis: Cleveland came in and played pretty darn well against some solid teams. They Beat New Orleans 30-17 on the road in week 7, and followed that up witha 34-14 win the next week over New England. Additionally, the lost in overtime to the New York Jets a week later. However, consistency was an issue for this team in 2010, and they finished up the season with four consecutive losses. In those losses Cleveland scored a total of 42 points. This tailspin during the end of the season cost their coach his job, and the "flying Mangini's" are no longer. A new Head Coach, and a new sense of purpose is brought to the dog pound. They have what many consider their QB of the future, Colt McCoy, to go a long with a solid running game, led by Peyton Hillis. The larger question remains Cleveland's inability to get separation in the passing game on the outside. Their top three receivers; Mohamed Massaquoi, Chansi Stuckey and Brian Robiskie combined for a poor 1,139 yards receiving and 5 touchowns. That isn't going to get it done. Look for them to upgrade at the receiver position. A.J. Green anyone? However, they have an extremely talented secondary with Eric Wright and Joe Haden manning the corner positions, a long with T.J. Ward at safetey. It is going to be interesting to see if Eric Wright re-signs this off-season, they need him big time. Cleveland will not be a "gimme" game in 2011, look for them to improve a great deal next season. However, this should be a game we mark as a "W" in the pre-season.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  2010 Record: 10-6       3rd Place NFC South

Offense: 17th in Passing, 8th in Rushing     Defense: 7th in Passing, 28th in Rushing

Leaders

Josh Freeman: 61.4 Comp%, 3,451 Yards, 25 TD, 6 INT, 7.3 Yards per Attempt, 95.9 Rating

LeGarrette Blount: 1,007 Rush Yards, 5.0 AVG, 6 TD, 4 Fumbles

Mike Williams: 65 Receptions, 964 Yards, 11 TD

Kellen Winslow Jr: 66 Receptions, 730 Yards, 5 TD

Tackles: Barrett Ruud (87)

Sacks: Stylez G. White (4.5)

INT: Aqib Talib (6)

Major Free Agents: RB- Cadillac Williams, G- Davin Joseph, LB- Barrett Ruud, S- Tanard Jackson, CB- Rhonde Barber

Trade Block: QB- Josh Johnson

Draft Picks: 1(20), 2(51), 3(84), 4(115), 5(132), 5(148), 7(211)

Mocking Their Draft: 1. DE- Cameron Heyward, Ohio State

"Despite a slew of injuries that claimed many of his best players, Morris exceeded expectations this season. Ten rookies started, the most by a winning team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.Morris, the youngest coach in the league at 34, led the Bucs to a 10-6 record with the NFL's youngest team after going 3-13 in his first season as coach"  (Yahoo Sports)

Analysis: It is absolutely amazing that this team went from 3-13 to 10-6 in just one season. Especially, considering that their top rusher and top receivers were rookies, not just rookies but one was a late round pick (Williams), and the other an undrafted FA (Blount). This speaks volumes to the coaching of Raheem Morris. Josh Freeman had a breakout season in 2010, nearing the league lead in TD/INT ratio and QB Rating. Additionally, their last four losses were for a combined 20 points. This team is obviously on the rise, and there really is no reason to rehash our 21-0 loss to Tampa Bay in November, our first home shoutout in over 30 years. I look for a much improved Tampa Bay Buccaneers team to be coming to San Francisco next season, but i also expect a much improved 49ers team as well. This should be a real good game. Both Tanard Jackson and Davin Joseph are free agents, and the Bucs need to re-sign them in order to continue their momentum at those positions. Joseph has done a good job protecting Freeman and opening up running lanes up the middle, his loss would be a severe hit to this offense.

 

Road Opponents

Philadelphia Eagles:  2010 Record: 10-6    1st Place NFC East

Offense: 9th in Passing and 5th in Rushing       Defense: 15th in Passing and 15th in Rushing

Leaders

Michael Vick: 62.6 Comp %, 3,018 Yards, 21 TD, 6 INT, 8.5 Yards per Attempt, 100.2 QB Rating

LeSean McCoy: 1,080 Rush Yards, 5.2 AVG, 592 Receiving Yards, 9 TD, 2 Fumbles

Michael Vick: 676 Rush Yards, 6.8 AVG, 9 TD, 11 Fumbles

DeSean Jackson: 47 Receptions, 1,056 Yards, 6 TD

Jeremy Maclin: 70 Receptions, 964 Yards, 10 TD

Tackles: Quintin Mikell (77)

Sacks: Trent Cole (10)

INT: Asante Samuel (7)

Major Free Agents: QB- Michael Vick and S- Quintin Mikell

Trade Block: QB- Kevin Kolb

Draft Picks: 1(23), 2(55), 3(87), 4(103), 4(119), 5(146), 5(151), 6(179), 7(216)

Mocking Their Draft: 1. OT- Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State.

"The Eagles, who selected 13 players in last April's draft, entered the 2010 season as one of the youngest teams in the league. A dozen rookies either started or saw regular playing time. At season's end, they had 17 rookies or second-year players on their 53-man roster, and another five rookies on injured reserve" (Yahoo Sports)

Analysis: Well they were my favorites to win the NFC heading into the plays, and that didn't go to well. Michael Vick had a major comeback season in 2010 and is going to finish 2nd to Tom Brady in the NFL MVP voting. However, their offensive line struggled down the stretch and really cannot be relied on to protect Vick in 2011. This is even if Vick is on the Eagles in 2011, he is set to become a free agent in March. I can't see the Eagles letting Vick walk, but that does remain a slim possibility. The other issue is Kevin Kolb, their back up QB, who has demanded a trade. I may get some slack for this, but i believe that Jeremy Maclin, not DeSeanJackson is the teams best all around receiver. He had 23 more catches than Jackson andcan be relied on every game, something Jackson can't. That said, with Vick, McCoy, Jackson, Maclin and Celek this team is loaded in the talent positions. The defense is another story. They finished 21st in scoring defense andaround the middle of the pack in rush and pass defense. Additionally, the QB of their secondary, Quintin Mikell is set to be a free agent. Look, Philadelphia will be a contender once again in 2011, but they have issues that need to be fixed before we can annoint them the favorites in the NFC East. I expect a good game between the 49ers and Eagles, much like the 27-24 loss this season.

 

Washington Redskins :       2010 Record: 6-10    Tied for Last NFC East

 Offense: 8th in Passing and 30th in Rushing       Defense: 31st in Passing and 26th in Rushing

Leaders

Donovan McNabb: 58.3 Comp%, 3,377 Yards, 14 TD, 15 INT, 7.2 Yards per Attempt, 77.1 QB Rating

Ryan Torain: 742 Rush Yards, 4.5 AVG, 6 TD, 2 Fumbles

Santana Moss: 93 Receptions, 1,115 Yards, 6 TD

Chris Cooley: 77 Receptions, 849 Yards, 3 TD

Tackles: London Fletcher (87)

Sacks: Brian Orakpo (8.5)

INT: DeAngelo Hall (6)

Major Free Agents: CB- Carlos Rogers, LB- H.B. Blades, OL- Jamaal Brown

Trade Block: QB- Donovan McNabb and DL- Albert Haynesworth

Draft Picks:

Mocking Their Draft: 1. WR- Julio Jones, Alabama

"The Redskins did not win at least one game by at least seven points. And no team in NFL history has played more games decided by three or fewer points in a season than the 2010 Redskins. The nine games decided by a field goal or less ties an NFL record held by six other teams" (Rich Tandler, CSN Washington)

Analysis: This team is a prime example of throwing money at everything with no effect. The Redskins were a complete disaster in Mike Shanahan's first season as head coach. What began with Donovan McNabb and Co defeating the defending NFC East cham, Dallas Cowboys in week one, culminated in the benching of McNabb in favor of the enigma that is Rex Grossman. This team has too many issues to discuss in this article, but i will touch on some of them. McNabb will not be back, and Grossman isn't the answer. So, they are going to have to find another QB. If history tells me anything they will go after a Carson Palmer or Kyle Orton. Which, may or may not work. They don't have a real running game, their offensive line isn't too great, and their defense leaves a lot to be desired. I see Washington being on the cellar of the NFC East for the next few seasons, at least until they change their off-season approach. This should be one of our easier out of division games in 2011.

Cincinnati Bengals:     2010 Record: 4-12         Tied for last in AFC North

Offense: 13th in Passing and 27th in Rushing      Defense: 14th in Passing and 19th in Rushing

Leaders

Carson Palmer:      61.8 Comp%, 3,970 Yards, 26 TD, 20 INT, 6.8 Yards per Attempt, 82.4 Rating

Cedric Benson: 1,111 Rush Yards, 3.5 AVG, 178 Receiving Yards, 8 TD, 7 Fumbles

Terrell Owens: 72 Receptions, 983 Yards, 9 TD

Chad Ochocinco: 67 Receptions, 831 Yards, 4 TD

Tackles: Dhani Jones (86)

Sacks: Carlos Dunlap (9.5)

INT: Leon Hall (4)

Major Free Agents: RB- Cedric Benson, WR- Terrell Owens, LB- Dhani Jones, CB- Johnathan Joseph

Trade Block: QB- Carson Palmer and WR- Chad Ochocinco

2011 Draft Picks: 1(4), 2(35), 3(66), 4(100), 5(131), 6(162), 7(196)

Mocking Their Draft: 1. WR- A.J. Green, Georgia

"One person not likely to be back is running back Cedric Benson, who was critical of the play-calling for most of the season. The Bengals have picked up the option on Chad Ochocinco's contract, but the receiver has voiced doubts on whether he can still co-exist with Lewis following critical comments late in the season. All this means it is likely that three of the four starters at skill positions will be different next season" (Yahoo Sports)

Analysis: After beating Carolina on September 26, Cincinnati did not win another game until the middle of December, losing 10 consecutive games. This team fell apart in 2010, after some pundits predicted them to win the division. The talent was there, but they just couldn't put it all together. Carson Palmer regressed for the 3rd consecutive season, tying his career high in INTs with20. He hasn't been the same player after coming back from the knee injury that cost him most of the 2008 season. Since the injury Palmer 33 picks in just 32 games. The running game was pretty descent with Cedric Benson, but his 7 fumbles have to be considered an issue. Chad Ochocinco'sstats took a major hit in 2010, as he didn't finish with 1,000 yards for only the 3rd time in his career, and at 33 may be on this downside of his career. Terrell Owens had a great season before being injured late in the season. However, he will not return in 2011. Some believe that Cincinnati will just blow this thing up, as it is not working. So, you could see trades involving Palmer and Ochocino as well as Owens, and Benson walking in free agency. Cincinnati does have some good young players in Jermaine Gresham, Jordan Shipley, Carlos Dunlap, and Michael Johnson. However, it will be awhile before this team is in contention, with or without Palmer.

 

Baltimore Ravens:    2010 Record: 12-4              2nd NFC North

Offense: 20th in Passing and 14th in Rushing       Defense: 21st in Passing and 5th in Rushing  

Leaders

Joe Flacco: 62.6 Comp %, 3,622 Yards, 25 TD, 10 INT, 7.4 Yards per Attempt, 93.6 Rating

Ray Rice: 1,220 Rush Yards, 4.0 AVG, 556 Receiving Yards, 6 TD, 0 Fumbles

Anquan Boldin: 64 Receptions, 837 Yards, 7 TD

Derek Mason: 61 Receptions, 802 Yards, 7 TD

Tackles: Ray Lewis (102)

Sacks: Terrell Suggs (11)

INT: Ed Reed (8)

Free Agents: FB- Le'Ron McClain, OT- Jared Gaither, DT- Haloti Ngata, WR- Derek Mason, CB- Fabion Washington

Draft Picks: 1(26), 2(58), 3(90), 4(122), 6(186), 7(214), 7(217)

Mocking Their Draft: 1. CB- Brandon Burton, Utah

"All you can do in life is take a shot at being great," said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh  "That's all you can do. Our guys did that all year, we just weren't great enough today to win a football game, and that's disappointing. But that doesn't discourage us or frustrate us.  We'll be back.  We can't wait to be back and get started." (John Harbaugh, Ravens Coach, following AFC Divisional loss to Pittsburgh)

Analysis: My favoritto win the AFC going into the playoffs, but they lost in the last secondto Pittsburgh in the divisional round. Joe Flacco had a horrible game, and shows no signs of being a big game QB thus far. However, he has progressed over the course of the last three seasons, and is one of the best young QBsin the game. The weapons on offense are there with the multi dimensional Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin. That said, it must be noted that this team isn't getting any younger. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are in the final stages of their careers and the rest of the secondary just isn't that great. Chris Carr, Fabion Washington, Josh Wilson and Lardarius Webb leave a lot to be desired. Look for them to upgrade that position in the draft. Baltimore also has a lot of key free agents in Haloti Ngata, Jared Gaither, Derek Mason and Le'Ron McClain. Those players need to be retained, and more pieces need to be added to the puzzle for Baltimore to take the next step and become an elite AFC force. The Harbaugh brothers will be playing in 2011, the first ever coaching matchupbetween brothers, that should be fun. Look for that game to get a lot of national media coverage and either be on NBC or ESPN. I really look forward to this game

 

Detroit Lions:     2010 Record: 6-10 3rd NFL North 

Offense: 12th in Passing and 23rd in Rushing       Defense: 16th in Passing and 24th in Rushing

Leaders

Shaun Hill:   61.8 Comp %, 2,686 Yards, 16 TD, 12 INT, 6.5 Yards per Attempt, 81.3 Rating

Jahvid Best: 556 Rush Yards, 3.2 AVG, 487 Receiving Yards, 6 TD, 1 Fumble

Calvin Johnson: 77 Receptions, 1,120 Yards, 12 TD

Brandon Pettigrew: 71 Receptions, 722 Yards, 4 TD

Tackles: Louis Delmas (62)

Sacks: Ndamukong Suh (10)

INT: Alphonso Smith (5)

Free Agents: QB- Shaun Hill, LB- Julian Peterson

Draft Picks: 1(13), 2(44), 3(75), 4(106), 5(137), 6(183),

Mocking Their Draft: 1. CB- Brandon Harris, Miami (F)

"The Lions finally rejoined the NFL in 2010. They were no longer the automatic win on everybody's schedule, no longer the butt of all the jokes across the league. They didn't threaten a playoff spot, but week in and week out they competed" (Yahoo Sports)

Analysis: Detroit's 6-10 record was a dramatic improvement over the last couple of seasons, and this team now has to be considered on the rise. Six of Detroit's ten losses came by a combined 24 points, obviously a sign of a young team. They have an enormous amount of young talent, but it all may come down to the health of Matthew Stafford. He has missed more games (19), than he has played in (13) during his first two seasons. This is not a good sign, hopefully he can rid himself of the injury issues; i am rooting for him. By young talent i am talking about the likes of Stafford, Jahvid Best, Brandon Pettigrew, Calvin Johnson, Louis Delmas, the monster that is Ndamukong Suh, Alphonso Smith, and Cliff Avril. I expect huge things out of this team in 2011, and more importantly in the not so distant future. They have the talent, they have the coaching, but it may take some time. However, look for them to be .500+ in 2011, this is no longer a gimme' game for the 49ers.


Conclusions: To me, the 49ers 2011 opponent list isn't too scary. Of course, we are going to have our fair share of difficult outer division games. Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New York and Philadelphia come to mine first. However, you cannot sleep on the Dallas Cowboys or Tampa Bay Buccaneers either. I am excited about possibly renewing our rivarly withthe Cowboys, hopefully both teams are much improved and it turns out to be a new era of rivarly between the two teams. Additionally, the Baltimore game excites me, simply because of the test it will be, and the Harbaugh brothers connection. It will be interesting to see how the off-season plays out, and how this list will look as we head into training camp. On that note, i am sure that i will revise this list with the off-season moves etc... included after player moves, the draft, and OTA's have taken place.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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