Last season, the 49ers were expected to do big things. Really, really big things, and they were awarded four primetime games with which to show off said big things. They had the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football in week two! That was pretty big, in my opinion. Well, the year didn't go as planned, and the 49ers were in boring games more often than they were in exciting games. Nobody cared about the matchups on Primetime because they meant nothing.
So will they be getting the same treatment in 2011? Probably not, but they'll still get a couple. There's two I can identify off the top of my head, and the first one should be pretty obvious: when the 49ers head to Baltimore to take on the John Harbaugh-led Ravens. It will be the first time that two head coaches who are brothers face off against eachother in the NFL. I would imagine that this game is either Monday Night Football, or more likely, a Thursday Night Football game. Maybe the opener for TNF.
What about Monday night though? Will the 49ers get a spot there? If there's one thing that doesn't disappoint, I think it's generally San Francisco vs the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. I don't think it's a question as to whether or not the 49ers will get a Monday night game against someone in the NFC West, I really think it's more of a question of who. The Cardinals are now perceived to be the bottom-of-the-barrel in the NFC West, while the Rams and 49ers both opened as dual favorites to win the division.
So 49ers-Rams then? Maybe not, considering who coaches the Seattle Seahawks. I could easily see a Jim Harbaugh-Pete Carroll "What's Your Deal?" thing going on here. Is that rivalry enough to take away a potential 49ers-Rams matchup, or 49ers-Cardinals? It just might be, in my mind. Seeing as how the 49ers have a new coaching staff and are once again favorites, I could potentially see two of them, one against the Rams and one against the Seahawks. Poor Cardinals.
Lastly, what if the 49ers obtain Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles? Would Kolb's return to Philly earn a primetime spot? Could the Cardinals or Seahawks sign Alex Smith and get a primetime game against San Francisco that way? What do you guys think?