The San Francisco 49ers lost Jimmy Garoppolo for the season nine days ago, and I imagine NFL executives were none too pleased about what it might mean for ratings. There was a report some in the league wanted the 49ers to trade for Nick Foles in hopes that would make them more competitive.
C.J. Beathard offered a strong performance in Week 4, and the team seems to be in OK shape for the time being. But there is still the concern about getting flexed out of a primetime game.
The 49ers’ schedule includes two Monday Night Football games, two Sunday Night Football games, and their one mandatory Thursday Night Football game. They cannot be flexed out of MNF or TNF, but they can be flexed out of SNF. The 49ers’ SNF schedule includes a Week 7 (October 21) home game with the Los Angeles Rams and a Week 13 (December 2) road game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The NFL has until October 9 (a week from today) to decide whether or not to flex the 49ers Week 7 game against the Rams. The Bears-Patriots game is an option for flexing into SNF, while Bengals-Chiefs and Saints-Ravens could also depending on how those teams perform this weekend.
C.J. Beathard looked solid on Sunday and the 49ers almost beat the Chargers. If they beat Arizona this weekend and don’t look bad in doing so, I think the NFL sticks with 49ers-Rams. After all, we saw a wildly entertaining 49ers-Rams TNF game last year, so maybe we see a solid follow-up.
The bigger question is what to make of the 49ers-Seahawks SNF game in Week 13. It’s far too early to tell who might be out of the playoff picture that is currently in (and vice versa), but Vikings-Patriots could be a front-runner. Panthers-Bucs will depend on how Jameis Winston looks coming out of the bye, but if both teams are in contention, it might make sense. 49ers-Seahawks could hang onto the game, but there is a lot of lead time to change that.