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49ers list of opponents for 2017 almost settled

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There is one opponent left to be determined.

The San Francisco 49ers have not completed their 2016 schedule of games, but with two weeks remaining, we already know 12 of the 49ers 13 opponents for 2017.

The NFL has a scheduling formula that provides an idea of opponents two offseasons in advance of a given season. The 16-game schedule is broken up as follows (via this pdf):

  • Home and away against its three division opponents (6 games).
  • The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle (4 games).
  • The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (4 games).
  • Two intra-conference games based on the prior year’s standings (2 games). These games will match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in a conference will be matched in the same way each year.

The 49ers face all the teams in the NFC East and AFC South next season, and then last place team in the NFC North and South. The Chicago Bears loss to the Green Bay Packers last week locked up last place for the Bears, and per the schedule, the 49ers will make a trip to Chicago for the third straight season. It will also be the fourth straight season they have faced them (opened Levi’s in 2013).

The only remaining opponent to be determined is from the NFC South. The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers are tied at the bottom, two games back of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here are the remaining schedules for those three teams

Panthers: vs. Falcons, @ Bucs
Saints: vs. Bucs, @ Falcons
Bucs: @ Saints, vs. Panthers

My guess is the Saints end up in the cellar, but the Falcons and Bucs are both tough teams. If the Panthers and Saints both lose out, they would have the same divisional record (1-5), which means record in common games would be next. They both went 1-3 against the AFC West beating the San Diego Chargers. However, the Saints were 4-0 against the NFC West, while the Panthers were 3-1. That means the Panthers would get last place in the event of a tie.

Here is the full list of 49ers opponents for 2017.

Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, NFC South, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks

Away: Philadelphia Eagles, Washington, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks