The NFL is releasing its 2020 schedule on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. PT. The leagues’ plan is to push forward with a “normal” schedule that includes four preseason games and 16 regular-season matchups. For now, anyway. We know who the San Francisco 49ers will play, but we don’t know the order. Home opponents: Philadelphia, Washington, Buffalo, Miami, and Green Bay. Road opponents: Dallas, New England, New Orleans, the Giants, and the Jets. Then you add in each divisional foe both on the road and at home. On Wednesday, a report surfaced that the team may play each AFC East opponent to start the season.
Five games on National TV
Some fans can’t stand when their team is on TV. It drives them insane. To me, it brings the best out in the 49ers. They’re sharp and at their best on the big stage. That was the case last year save the last quarter of that one game they played in. Even Monday night against the Seahawks was full of unforced errors. Plus, that was the first San Francisco was in the actual spotlight. Here are my predictions for the games that’ll be nationally broadcasted:
- Cowboys on Thanksgiving
- Patriots in an Afternoon game
- Thursday night game against the Cardinals
- Monday night game against the Seahawks
- Sunday night game against the Packers
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the game against the Bills nationally televised, either. When you have the type of success the 49ers did in 2019; schedule makers reward you the next season.
A midseason bye week
The 49ers were banged up and worn out as the season went on last year. A Week 4 bye helped in some aspects, but it also puts even more pressure on the team to snag the No. 1 seed. Having a bye week as early as Week 4 is silly. If the Niners didn’t win Week 17 at Seattle, they would have had to play essentially a full season of games in a row to reach the Super Bowl. Come on, schedule makers. You’d think with an early bye week in 2019; the 49ers will have a bye week closer to the middle of their schedule this year.
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Fewer than two games where you face the team’s coming off byes/long rests
The NFL schedule isn’t perfect. Last year’s “gauntlet” saw the 49ers face the Packers coming off a bye, followed by the Ravens and the Saints. Don’t let Green Bay getting their teeth kicked in distract you from them coming off a bye. That’s going to happen again in 2020, but hopefully, it’s just once. With the 49ers set to travel east a few times, there’s a chance they will have a short rest while other teams are coming off a bye week or a Thursday night game. The NFL prefers to keep teams from playing on the road three games in a row, but it’s bound to happen. The Niners will like to avoid that as well.
Repeat last year where San Francisco “caught teams at the right time”
Last year the 49ers first two games were against new head coaches. That helps. The next game came against a backup QB, as did the Panthers a few games later—Thats half of your first four games in ideal situations. As the schedule got tougher later in the season, the 49ers had already established their identity, so they were clicking on all cylinders. Playing the Patriots Week 1 with a new QB is the definition of catching a team at the right time.
There is luck involved in winning, and it’d be nice to see the 49ers receive some good fortune on their schedule later today.
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