The San Francisco 49ers knew 14 of their 16 opponents for the 2016 season heading into Week 16, and this week added another one to the list. The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Buffalo Bills, securing their spot in fourth place in their division. They had a slim chance to get out of the cellar with two wins to close out the year, but that did not happen.
The list of opponents is based on a formula the NFL puts together for every two seasons. Aside from six divisional games, a team faces all four teams from one division in their conference, all four teams from one division in the opposing conference, and then one team in the same position from the other two divisions in their conference. For the 2016 season, the 49ers are set to face the NFC South, the AFC East, and then the team that also finished in the same spot as them in the NFC East and NFC North. The 49ers clinched last place in Week 15.
The final opponent to be determined is from the NFC North. The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions both won this week to improve to 6-9 on the season. Detroit travels to Chicago in Week 17, so the 49ers will face the loser in 2016.
The 49ers ended up with a fairly tough schedule in spite of a third place finish last year. With one game remaining, the 49ers opponents strength of schedule is .552. Right now that is the toughest SOS in the entire league. I don't think an easier SOS would have added a whole lot more wins, but it is still something worth noting. We'll hear about the 49ers SOS for 2016 as soon as the season is over. Since that is based on 2015 performances, we'll take that with just the slightest grain of salt.
Home opponents: Arizona, Seattle, St. Louis, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, New England, NY Jets, Dallas
Away opponents: Arizona, Seattle, St. Louis, Atlanta, Carolina, Buffalo, Miami, Chicago (or Detroit)