The San Francisco 49ers don’t get going until Monday evening, but in the meantime, there is a full load of games to watch on Sunday. Monday Night Football features a double-header, and the Thursday kickoff game is a wrap, so we get 13 games on Sunday. Unfortunately it is split up with nine in the morning and three in the afternoon (before SNF), but it’s still a lot of football.
I thought we’d begin our weekly look at the games of interest for the 49ers. This holds more value in the latter half of the season when draft and playoff implications mean more, but it is still interesting out of the gate. I have fantasy football and wager plans in place, but there is still plenty to watch for non-gambling and non-fantasy folks. We’ll open with the NFC West, and then move on to other games of note (all times Pacific).
Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks
1:05 p.m., CBS, Ian Eagle/Dan Foutes/Evan Washburn
The Seahawks are 10.5 point favorites at home against the Miami Dolphins. The pre-game National Anthem will be a thing to watch, with the Seahawks planning on locking arms in a “demonstration of unity.” But beyond that, there is plenty to watch on the football field! Christine Michael gets the start, with Thomas Rawls expected to come off the bench. Michael has been a guy for which Seahawks fans have had high expectations, and they’re hoping he finally steps up in this one.
New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals
5:30 p.m., NBC, Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth/Michele Tafoya
This looked like a great matchup, but suspensions and injuries have changed it drastically. Tom Brady will not play due to a suspension. Rob Gronkowski, Nate Solder, and Jonathan Cooper all have been ruled out and did not make the trip with the team. The Cardinals welcome back Tyran Mathieu, and the line has climbed over a touchdown. I took the Cardinals in the SuperContest, but it doesn’t make me feel a whole lot better going against Bill Belichick.
Chicago Bears at Houston Texans
10:00 a.m., FOX, Thom Brennaman/Charles Davis/Peter Schrager
The 49ers face the Bears later this season, and I am curious to see what they bring on the road against the Texans and their new starting quarterback. Brock Osweiler has shown some things in the preseason, but given how he performed last year during his starting opportunity in Denver, there are still plenty of questions. Of course, the Bears will face plenty of issues as they face what looks like a really strong Texans defensive front.
Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles
10:00 a.m., CBS, Greg Gumbel/Trent Green/Jamie Erdahl
Could we see a potential No. 1 draft pick battle right out of the gates? Both teams are expected to be pretty bad this season. The Eagles are going all-in on the rebuild with the trade of Sam Bradford. Hue Jackson makes his regular season debut with the Browns. The Eagles are still a 3.5-point favorite in some places. Maybe they surprise me, but I’m just not seeing it.
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens
10:00 a.m., CBS, Spero Dedes/Solomon Wilcots/Dana Jacobson
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets
10:00 a.m., CBS, Jim Nantz/Phil Simms/Tracy Wolfson
The 49ers face the Bills and Jets this year, so we might as well see what the two AFC East teams can do on Sunday. Considering the Patriots will be without Tom Brady for the first four games, both of these teams need to be hot out of the gates to take advantage of the situation. Jimmy Garoppolo could be fine for the Patriots, but there could be a huge opening for the rest of the division.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10:00 a.m., FOX, Sam Rosen/David Diehl/Holly Sonders
This could be a matchup of an ascending team (the Bucs), versus a team continuing its own descent (the Falcons). The 49ers face both, and I am primarily curious to see if the Falcons offense can build on some key parts, or if the Bucs will continue their push past Atlanta in the NFC South.
Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints
10:00 a.m., FOX, Chris Myers/Ronde Barber/Jennifer Hale
The Raiders enter this season with fairly high expectations following an offseason of numerous additions. They showed significant signs of progress last year, but can they build on it, or will they regress? They face a tough challenge having to deal with the Saints offense in the Superdome. Of course, the Saints defense was atrocious last season. They can’t finish worse than their 32nd ranking, but they could still be awful.