The San Francisco 49ers' schedule for 2020 was released Thursday and the defending NFC champions have the fourth-most difficult strength of schedule.
The 2020 NFL season will kick off Thursday, Sept. 10 with the Houston Texans at the Kansas City Chiefs. ESPN will have a Monday Night Football doubleheader on Sept. 14 featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants (7:10 p.m. ET) and the Tennessee Titans at the Denver Broncos (10:20 p.m. ET).
Check out the full week-by-week schedule here. Here's what is in store for the 49ers:
49ers reporter Nick Wagoner is predicting an 11-5 finish:
Sept. 13: vs. Arizona, Win
Sept. 20: at New York Jets, Win
Sept. 27: at New York Giants, Win
Oct. 4: vs. Philadelphia, Loss
Oct. 11: vs. Miami, Win
Oct. 18: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Win
Oct. 25: at New England, Win
Nov. 1: at Seattle, Loss
Nov. 5: vs. Green Bay, Win
Nov. 15: at New Orleans, Loss
Nov. 22: Bye
Nov. 29: at Los Angeles Rams, Win
Dec. 7: vs. Buffalo, Win
Dec. 13: vs. Washington, Win
Dec. 20: at Dallas, Loss
Dec. 26 or 27: at Arizona, Loss
Jan. 3: vs. Seattle, Win
Strength of schedule: 4th, .527
The 49ers have no shortage of entertaining matchups on this schedule. Like last year when they played Green Bay, Baltimore and New Orleans consecutively, the stretch from Oct. 18 to Nov. 15 looks potentially daunting with games against the Rams, Patriots, Seahawks, Packers and Saints in consecutive weeks and three of those are on the road. It just wouldn't feel right if the Niners and Seahawks didn't come back for a Week 17 encore after last year's epic showdown for the division. This time, though, that game will be played at Levi's Stadium.
Another East Coast stay?
The 49ers had two, weeklong road trips to the eastern part of the country last year, first with a stay in Youngstown, Ohio, between games against Tampa Bay and Cincinnati. Later in the season, they did it again with a stay in Bradenton, Florida, between games against Baltimore and New Orleans. The extended trips paid off as the Niners went 3-1 in those games and had their two best yardage outputs of the season in the second game of both trips, averaging 543.5 yards in those contests. Don't be surprised if they find a place to crash and practice between the Weeks 2 and 3 games against the New York Jets and the Giants, respectively.
Maximum prime time
The 49ers' surge to the NFC championship last year undoubtedly has raised their profile in the eyes of the league's broadcast partners. That already showed itself last year when they played in six prime-time games during the regular season. This year, they are playing under the bright lights the maximum allowable times once again. They have five such games on the schedule with three on Sunday night, one on Monday one on Thursday. Like last year, they're also still eligible to flexed into an additional night game late in the season.