Shortly after the 2013 regular season wrapped up, we had a rundown of the 49ers 13 opponents in 2014. The schedule will be released sometime in April, but in the meantime, here is a list of the home and road opponents for next season:
Once the Super Bowl ends, we'll know one of the two teams that will open the NFL season on Thursday Night Football. That leaves a host of other games remaining to be filled. And naturally the 49ers will be occupying as many as five of those prime time games.
There has been some question about hosting prime time games because of parking issues. The 49ers and Santa Clara are working around those issues, but it may delay prime time weeknight games until the latter part of the 2014 season. I don't think we need to worry too much about a back-loaded prime time schedule, as the team could just end up with some Sunday Night home games mixed in with some road prime time weekday games, and maybe one late season weekday game.
If that's the case, do we maybe see the 49ers home opener on Sunday Night Football? I have to think the NFL wants to show off Levi's Stadium to the world, so maybe we see the 49ers open the 2014 season on SNF. If the Seahawks win this Sunday, they would open on the Thursday kickoff game. If Seattle loses to the Broncos this Sunday, maybe the NFL has them open up in Santa Clara at the new stadium. Either way, one of the two 49ers-Seahawks games is going to be under the lights.
Another game that would seem a logical choice for prime time would be the home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Alex Smith-Colin Kaepernick-Jim Harbaugh triangle is in the rear view mirror for a lot of 49ers fans, but the first regular season matchup of these two teams would certainly bring plenty of intrigue. You could probably do good ratings with a basic CBS 1:25 game of the week, but how can this not be a prime time game?
I suspect we'll see at least one other divisional game get the prime time treatment. Arizona would seem more likely to stay class after last season, but the Rams do have serious draft ammunition. Maybe the NFL rolls the dice with a Rams-49ers game once again.
The road game against the Saints is a possibility for prime time, but it strikes me as almost too obvious. Of course, maybe they go prime time after having this year's in the FOX game of the week slot.
Other than that, you really could make arguments for any of these games. The Eagles game could be a great prime time game, but I also could see that being a FOX Game of the Week. That could apply to the Bears game as well.
49ers vs. Broncos at Mile High is going to be an intriguing one. There is some chatter about whether or not Peyton Manning would retire if he wins the Super Bowl on Sunday. I think win or lose he sticks around for at least one more year. This is another game that would be awesome under the lights, but FOX may want to do what they can to protect it.
What games do you see in prime time? I suppose they don't necessarily need all five, but feel free to pick your five.