The San Francisco 49ers learned their draft position on Sunday, but the Week 17 schedule also finalized the 49ers slate of opponents for 2016. The NFL will not release the 2016 schedule until April, but in the meantime, the league's opponent formula lets us know all 16 opponents the 49ers will face next season.
The final opponent was determined in Week 17 when the Detroit Lions defeated the Chicago Bears. The NFL scheduling formula has the 49ers facing the team in the NFC North that finishes in the same position. Since the 49ers finished in last place, that means the last place NFC North team. The Lions and Bears were tied at 6-9, so this game decided the opponent.
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.
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