The San Francisco 49ers 2016 schedule features a host of tough opponents, and numerous measurements indicate it could be among the toughest in the NFL. We've heard plenty about the 49ers facing the highest opponent winning percentage. However, Bill Barnwell pointed to another measurement.
According to projected Pythagorean Expectation, the 49ers face the toughest schedule across the league. The 49ers have a similar schedule to that of the Los Angeles Rams, but Barnwell says, "The difference between the two? The Rams get to play the 49ers twice while San Francisco, sadly, cannot play itself." I suppose the first question to be answered is whether or not the Rams will be taking a sizable step forward in 2016, or if Jeff Fisher's team will continue to barely tread water.
The 49ers schedule does include winnable games, but there are a lot of games where you could just as easily mark up a loss. The schedule includes two games against NFC opponents that finished in the same position as the 49ers. This year, the 49ers get the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears in those slots. If Tony Romo is healthy, the Cowboys are much improved. The Bears need to figure out their offense with Adam Gase gone, but that defense should be further improved under Vic Fangio.
The 49ers are not going to go 0-16, and it is entirely possible they hit a home run in this draft, and Chip Kelly does a masterful job turning things around. That being said, it is hard to be overly optimistic with this slate.
Week 1: vs. Los Angeles Rams, 7:20 p.m., ESPN, Monday, September 12
Week 2: @ Carolina Panthers, 10:00 a.m., FOX, Sunday, September 18
Week 3: @ Seattle Seahawks, 1:05 p.m., FOX, Sunday, September 25
Week 4: vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1:25 p.m., FOX, Sunday, October 2
Week 5: vs. Arizona Cardinals, 5:25 p.m., CBS Thursday, October 6
Week 6: @ Buffalo Bills, 10:00 a.m., FOX, Sunday, October 16
Week 7: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:05 p.m., FOX, Sunday, October 23
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: vs. New Orleans Saints, 1:05 p.m., FOX, Sunday, November 6
Week 10: @ Arizona Cardinals, 1:25 p.m., FOX, Sunday, November 13
Week 11: vs. New England Patriots, 1:25 p.m., CBS Sunday, November 20
Week 12: @ Miami Dolphins, 10:00 a.m., FOX, Sunday, November 27
Week 13: @ Chicago Bears, 10:00 a.m., FOX Sunday, December 4
Week 14: vs. New York Jets, 1:05 p.m., CBS Sunday, December 11
Week 15: @ Atlanta Falcons, 1:05 p.m., FOX, Sunday, December 18
Week 16: @ Los Angeles Rams, 1:25 p.m., FOX Saturday, December 24
Week 17: vs. Seattle Seahawks, 1:25 p.m., FOX, Sunday, January 1