Home World 10 things to know about 49ers’ 2024 NFL schedule

10 things to know about 49ers’ 2024 NFL schedule

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SANTA CLARA – Nothing is more deliciously presumptuous than the NFL’s annual schedule release. Not the overhyped draft. Not the free agency splurges.

When a franchise like the 49ers commands a maximum of six prime-time games, their roster indeed screams must-see TV.

There is a long way to go, however, until Week 17, when a potential No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs could be at stake. That is when the 49ers host the Detroit Lions in the regular season’s penultimate game – a rematch of the Niners’ NFC Championship-clinching comeback.

Sure, we all knew months ago what opponents lurked in the 49ers’ path to a Super Bowl encore next Feb. 9 in New Orleans. The schedule release is becoming a bigger deal annually, not only to entice broadcast partners to leak a game or two for their high-priced investments, and not only because it delivers dates and times. Every team now has a treasure map to the Lombardi Trophy loot, and fans can now plan their tailgates or wanna-get-away trips.

Here are 10 things to know about the 49ers’ 2024/25 schedule:

1. THE GAUNTLET

It’s always fun to determine which stretch equates to the NFL’s version of World Cup soccer’s “Group of Death.” This season’s comes in October. That is historically the bane of coach Kyle Shanahan’s datebook (13-19 record, trumped only by an 0-2 mark in February).

After facing the Seahawks for a third straight season on a Thursday night (Oct. 10 in Seattle), the 49ers host their Super Bowl LVIII rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 20, then come the Dallas Cowboys the next Sunday night seeking vengeance for, well, the 49ers becoming America’s (Almost Won It All) Team.

2. NFC WEST SUPREMACY

The 49ers are deservingly favored to win a third straight NFC West title. But it’s ludicrous they’ve got better odds to win the Super Bowl than the two-time defending Chiefs.

The 49ers play a pair of NFC West rivals on short weeks, meaning Thursday night kickoffs on Oct. 10 at Seattle and Dec. 12 at home against the Los Angeles Rams.

Three of the Niners’ first six games are against division foes: Sept. 22 at the Rams, Oct. 6 vs. the Arizona Cardinals, and Oct. 10 at Seattle. The 49ers ‘Won the West’ in Week 15 the past two seasons, at Seattle in 2022 and at Arizona last year. A three-peat might come with the Rams’ visit Dec. 12.

Of note: the Cardinals have only one prime-time game (on a Monday, not a Thursday), and they have a three-game homestand after opening at the rebuilt Bills; the Rams open with a wild-card rematch at Detroit and will play all four NFC North teams in the first eight weeks, with a Week 6 bye; the Seahawks play six of their first nine at still-raucous Lumen Field to usher in coach Mike Macdonald’s tenure.

3. LAYOVER UNLIKELY

The 49ers will be homebodies, kind of. Not only do they have nine home games against eight on the road, they don’t have back-to-back games in the Eastern Time Zone. That likely rules out a layover between long-distance road games, even if that enhanced team-bonding efforts early in past seasons (see: Youngstown, Ohio in 2011, ’12, ’19; The Greenbrier in West Virginia in 2021-23).

The 49ers’ only back-to-back roadies are in Weeks 2-3 (at Minnesota, at the L.A. Rams), and in Weeks 12-13 (at Green Bay, at Buffalo). That latter sequence is unlikely for a layover, unless the 49ers force players to spend Thanksgiving week abroad.

4. NO HOLIDAY PAY

Last season, the 49ers played on Thanksgiving night (in Seattle), on Christmas night (vs. Baltimore), and on New Year’s Eve (at Washington). They won’t have any games on those holidays this season. They might have to travel on Groundhog Day (Feb. 2) if they’re still alive and preparing for the Feb. 9 Super Bowl in New Orleans.

5. BYE TIME

The bye week comes at a perfect time. It always does, folks. It’s also a familiar time — a Week 9 bye for a third straight season. Prediction: the NFL will have two bye weeks to compensate for an 18-game schedule, at some point. Anyhow, this bye gives first-year defensive coordinator Nick Sorensen a chance to exhale, recover and recharge after the Seahawks-Chiefs-Cowboys gauntlet. The 49ers return from the bye for a Florida visit to Tampa Bay; they won in Jacksonville after last season’s perfectly timed bye to snap a three-game skid.

6. PLAYOFF REMATCHES

Here comes the intoxicating trap of nostalgia.

The 49ers will avenge their Super Bowl loss to Kansas City by winning … in October? The Packers, three seasons after losing as a No. 1 seed to the 49ers in snowy Lambeau, will make amends there on Nov. 24?

The Cowboys gotta still be mad about losing 42-10 in last season’s Week 5 Sunday nightery, and their 2022 divisional-playoff collapse, and their 2021 wild-card exit at home, right? And then there’s the Lions, who just gifted a Super Bowl berth to the resilient 49ers.

Bygones? Never.

7. QUARTERBACK LINEUP

The NFL being so quarterback-centric, here is the probable pitching rotation against the 49ers:

Aaron Rodgers, Sam Darnold (or J.J. McCarthy), Matthew Stafford, Drake Maye, Kyler Murray, Geno Smith, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Baker Mayfield, Smith, Jordan Love, Josh Allen, Caleb Williams, Stafford (or Jimmy Garoppolo), Tua Tagovailoa, Jared Goff, and Murray.

Of that group, the only ones in the NFL’s top-10 in passing efficiency last year behind No. 1 Brock Purdy (113.0) were Prescott (No. 2; 105.9), Tagovailoa (No. 5; 101.1), and Goff (No. 9; 97.9).

8. CHANGE THE CHANNEL

Are PBS and QVC the only networks not offering NFL games? The 49ers will appear on four networks. Of their six prime-time games, two each will be carried on Prime Video, ESPN, and NBC. Fox Sports will broadcast eight games, including San Mateo native Tom Brady in the Levi’s Stadium booth for the 49ers-Chiefs tilt. CBS will carry the 49ers’ first road game (Sept. 15 at Minnesota), and their Dec. 22 appearance in Miami.

9. PRESEASONING

The 49ers will play their first-ever preseason game in Tennessee – precisely, in Nashville – to open the exhibition season some time between Aug. 10-14. The 49ers’ only previous visits were in the 2005, 2013 and 2021 regular seasons.

After that, the 49ers are to hold joint practices with the New Orleans Saints at their training camp site at UC Irvine, with the 49ers then hosting the Saints for Levi’s Stadium’s lone preseason game on Aug. 18 (5 p.m.). The Niners’ preseason finale will be in Las Vegas against the Raiders between Aug. 24-28.

This is the second time in three years the 49ers won’t play in the preseason against the Chargers, after previously facing them every preseason dating to 1987.



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