Given how much things will quiet down after the NFL Draft, we'll have plenty of time for various thoughts on the schedule. For now though, I thought I'd throw out a few thoughts about the 49ers schedule. There are some intriguing quirks that could benefit the 49ers to a certain extent.
The best aspect of the schedule is so few early East Coast games. Their 10:00am PT games include the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets and St. Louis Rams. When people run the stat of West coast teams versus East coast teams they generally remove the Rams from consideration. Even still, having three 10:00am PT games is significantly beneficial for the 49ers.
The 49ers open with three road games in four weeks, including back to back games at the Vikings and at the Jets. One has to wonder if they will go with a similar plan to last year when they stayed in Ohio after the Bengals game before traveling to Philadelphia. They also have four road games in five weeks that feature Saints/Rams and Patriots/Seahawks in back-to-back weeks. Even with the middle home game against the Miami Dolphins, that is a tough stretch of games that could make or break the playoffs.
If the 49ers do make the playoffs, their slate of games from week five versus Buffalo to week eleven versus the Bears could be the difference-maker. They play five of six games at home with a bye week mixed in, and those are all winnable games. More than likely they will lose at least one game in there, but they will be in position to solidify their playoff chances at that point.
I'll have specific predictions tomorrow, but just off the top of my head, I see ten to eleven wins in that schedule. This is a playoff caliber schedule, but obviously things could change dramatically between now and September.
Week 1: @ Green Bay Packers - Sunday September 9, 1:15pm FOX
Week 2: vs. Detroit Lions - Sunday September 16, 5:20pm NBC
Week 3: @ Minnesota Vikings - Sunday September 23, 10:00am FOX
Week 4: @New York Jets - Sunday September 30, 10:00am FOX
Week 5: vs. Buffalo Bills - Sunday October 7, 1:15pm CBS
Week 6: vs. New York Giants - Sunday October 14, 1:15pm FOX
Week 7: vs. Seattle Seahawks - Thursday, October 18, 5:20pm NFL Network
Week 8: @ Arizona Cardinals - Monday October 29, 5:30pm ESPN
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: vs. St. Louis Rams - Sunday November 11, 1:15pm FOX
Week 11: vs. Chicago Bears - Monday November 19, 5:30pm ESPN
Week 12: @ New Orleans Saints - Sunday November 25, 1:15pm FOX
Week 13: @ St. Louis Rams - Sunday December 2, 10:00am FOX
Week 14: vs. Miami Dolphins - Sunday December 9, 1:05pm CBS
Week 15: @ New England Patriots - Sunday December 16, 5:20pm NBC
Week 16: @ Seattle Seahawks - Sunday December 23, 1:15pm FOX
Week 17: vs. Arizona Cardinals - Sunday December 30, 1:15pm FOX