49ers preview: Make-or-break stretch

Week 13 and 15 games against Seattle jump off the schedule. These are the two best teams in the NFL, and the late-season battles loom huge. But the truth is the San Francisco 49ers cannot afford any stumbles. They started 1-2 last season and could never catch up as the Seahawks finished 13-3 and the 49ers 12-4. It cost the 49ers home field in the playoffs. They have road games at Dallas and Arizona and home games against Chicago and Philadelphia in the first quarter of the season. If they are anything less than 3-1, they could be in a hole. On the flip side, if the 49ers -- who will not be at full strength on defense to start -- can navigate a perfect first quarter, it could set up a special season.

Complete 49ers season preview.