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Another nightmare stretch and other takeaways from 49ers’ 2020 schedule

© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers’ 2020 schedule is here. Yes, they still have to play the NFC West six times, along with the two top division winners in the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers, for the second-straight year, in the second-straight location.

Here’s what it looks like:

Week 1: 9/13 vs. Arizona Cardinals
Week 2: 9/20 @ New York Jets
Week 3: 9/27 @ New York Giants
Week 4: 10/4 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 5: 10/11 vs. Miami Dolphins
Week 6: 10/18 vs. Los Angeles Rams
Week 7: 10/25 @ New England Patriots
Week 8: 11/1 @ Seattle Seahawks
Week 9: 11/5 vs. Green Bay Packers
Week 10: 11/15 @ New Orleans Saints
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: 11/29 @ Los Angeles Rams
Week 13: 11/7 vs. Buffalo Bills
Week 14: 12/13 vs. Washington Redskins
Week 15: 12/20 @ Dallas Cowboys
Week 16: 12/26 or 27 @ Arizona Cardinals
Week 17: 1/3 vs. Seattle Seahawks

Another nightmare stretch? Yes, but there will be a reprieve this time

Remember when the 49ers had to play the Seahawks (H), Cardinals (H), Packers (H), Ravens (A) and Saints (A) all in a row last season? (And don’t forget the pesky Atlanta Falcons, who stunned them the following week at home). There’s another stretch like that this year, starting with Week 6.

After that one-off Cardinals opener, the two New Jersey teams (they play in the Meadowlands, and almost all their players live in New Jersey), the Eagles and the Dolphins, there’s a tricky stretch of the Rams, who should probably be the worst team in the NFC West Division, the New England Patriots, who could be terrible, but are still coached by Bill Belichick and would be playing at home (theoretically, a tough challenge with fans) still with a tremendous secondary, the Seahawks on the road, the Packers at home and the Saints on the road.

Oh, and the 49ers will get four days rest after playing the Seahawks to go and face the Packers on Thursday night. The benefit of that is, of course, that the Packers

Here’s the upshot: the 49ers get a bye after that. Instead of that cosmically evil Week 4 bye week they had last season, they’ll get one in the second half of the year, after what on paper, at least, figures to be the toughest part of their schedule.

The NFL was savvy with the start

There was much debate over how the NFL would handle scheduling this season while trying to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and very real possibility of cancelling or delaying games. What is clear is that they decided to keep one semi-normal opener in the division, which could obviously just be pushed to the end of the schedule.

Immediately after that, though, the 49ers play all of their less-than necessary opponents, who would have the smallest impact on playoff seeding (outside of record, of course). In theory, it should set up for the 49ers to steamroll their way through the opening part of the season, which could help for that nightmare stretch.

A two-weeker in New Jersey, Trent Williams rematch, and at least five primetime games, but not the right ones

  • Kyle Shanahan will love the fact that if the schedule holds, the 49ers will get an early bonding experience on the east coast against what should be two of the easier opponents in the Jets and Giants
  • Trent Williams will get his Redskins matchup in Week 14, and it likely won’t be another mud bowl like last season
  • The 49ers will play at least five primetime games, which is the maximum, but none are currently set against the Seahawks. They are as follows:
    • Week 4 – Sunday, October 4 vs. Philadelphia – 5:20 p.m. PT on NBC
    • Week 6 – Sunday, October 18 vs. Los Angeles Rams – 5:20 p.m. PT on NBC
    • Week 9 – Thursday, November 5 vs. Green Bay – 5:20 p.m. PT on FOX/NFLN Amazon
    • Week 13 – Monday, December 7 vs. Buffalo – 5:15 p.m. PT on ESPN
    • Week 15 – Sunday, December 20 at Dallas – 5:20 p.m. PT on NBC
  • The maximum amount of primetime games a team can have is six, which the 49ers will certainly reach. There’s a chance that they could get flexed out of one of the earlier games in order to flex into a game like the New Orleans Saints, and/or the Seattle Seahawks, or even the Saturday/Sunday option for the second Cardinals game. There will undoubtedly be a primetime matchup against the Seahawks. If not, one of them has had a disastrous season, or the NFL is out of its collective mind.

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