According to reports and TV schedule listings, the NFL will be releasing the 2013 schedule this coming Tuesday, April 16. As exciting as the preseason schedule release was, the regular season schedule release is just a little bit more interesting.
As it currently stands, we know that the 49ers will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on October 27. Beyond that, we are left to speculate. Although we don't know most of the games, we can start to narrow things down a little bit, particularly for Week 1.
The NFL season will kick off on Thursday,
April September 5 with the Ravens traveling to face an unnamed team. That following weekend, there is a decent chance the 49ers will be opening their 2013 season at home. The Oakland A's are at home against the Houston Astros, which means the Oakland Raiders cannot host a home opener on Sunday. It is possible they could play Monday Night Football, but the 24-hour timeframe to flip the Coliseum from baseball to football cannot possibly be considered ideal for a season-opening game.
The Raiders get a decent amount of Monday Night Football action in that late slot of the MNF double-header, but the turnaround makes it a bit more unlikely. If that happens and the 49ers open at home, there are a variety of possibilities for them. Here is a rundown of their 2013 home opponents:
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams
The 49ers opened against the Packers last year, so it is possible the NFL will look in a different direction. In reality, you could make arguments for almost all the games. The Falcons bring an NFC title game rematch. The Texans are among the favorites in the AFC. The Colts bring the Andrew Luck storyline. The Seahawks bring the 49ers biggest current rival. Even the Rams have some ratings upside as a potential matchup given the tight nature of their two matchups last season.
If I had to make a prediction, I would go with Falcons, with the Colts game as a close second. The Seahawks makes a lot of sense, but it just seems like the NFL will save that game for later.
The 49ers head to London to face the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 27. Given the eastern nature of the game, I think we will see the 49ers playing a road game in the central or eastern time zone the week before. I had thought it would definitely be eastern time zone, but a look at previous games indicated a mix of time zones. Here are the 49ers 2013 road opponents:
Road: New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars (London), Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams
The Redskins, Bucs, Titans and Saints make the most sense for purposes of distance, with the Redskins being the most logical. However, it will be interesting to see how the NFL schedules 49ers-Redskins with the matchup between Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III. I would not be surprised to see that get on Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football.
How do you see the 49ers potential Week 1 home opener scheduling out?