Fooch's Note: The 2013 NFL schedule has now been released. Check out the 49ers complete schedule.
We've got plenty to discuss about the 49ers Week 17 win over the Arizona Cardinals, and the upcoming playoffs, but there is one item of business to take care of first. The conclusion of the NFL regular season means we now know all of the 49ers opponents for 2013. We won't know most of the game dates until mid-April, but we've got something to work with for now.
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams
Road: New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars (London), Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams
The 49ers game with Jacksonville already has a date, with the game set for Sunday, October 27. Given how the NFL likes to set up the travel for that game, the bye would be the week after that, and the 49ers will likely face one of their east coast opponents the week before. That would mean the Buccaneers or Redskins are most likely, with my money on the Redskins.
Next year's schedule will be tough, but thankfully they get some of the tougher games at home. Facing the Falcons, Texans, Colts and Packers at home is much better than the road gauntlet the 49ers faced this year. Their road slate will still be tough, particularly with the Bucs improving, and the Redskins making a big leap this year.
You can also start to picture some of the prime time games on the schedule. There is a very good chance the 49ers and Packers square off in the divisional round of the playoffs in two weeks, and I would imagine the NFL would like to get that game on in prime time. I could see a pair of divisional games getting the prime time treatment as well, and maybe the Redskins game. If the 49ers could just win themselves the Super Bowl, that would also get them the season opener Thursday night prime time game. That seems pretty simple, right?