The NFL announced its 2013 schedule with much fanfare on Thursday. Some say that the San Francisco 49ers have the toughest schedule as of now. The strength of schedule is enhanced because the 49ers will face a few division winners in addition to their normal rotation of games. The schedule is set up to have the previous year’s divisional winners play each other. Looking at the 49ers’ schedule, there are some games that stand out as marquee matchups.
Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers: September 8th 1:25 PM PST
The final home opener at Candlestick will be against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. This will be one of the best matchups in week one as Aaron Rodgers makes his return. Colin Kaepernick had a record setting game in the 2012 Divisional Playoff game last year. Has Dom Capers figured out how to stop Kaepernick? The Packers will get to see how their offseason focus on learning to stop the read option pays off. The 49ers’ secondary will be tested severely by the high octane Packers’ passing offense. If the 49ers draft a safety early and he earns the starting job in camp, he will be tested right from the start of the season.
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks: September 15 5:30 PM PST
The Seahawks versus the 49ers rivalry has become one of the most intense and physical rivalries in the NFL. It is the Ravens vs Steelers, “West Side Edition.” This year the first game will be on Sunday Night Football, and two of the better defenses will face off against each other. The 49ers have said that Seattle is one of the hardest places to play in. Kaepernick will need to proved that he can win in Seattle despite the noisy 12th man fans. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will be eager to unleash their ultimate weapon Percy Harvin. I personally can not wait to see the Anquan Boldin vs Richard Sherman matchup.
Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers September 22: 1:25 PM PST
The Colts were a breakout team in 2012. This game is a marquee matchup based upon the fact that Andrew Luck comes back to the Bay Area to face Jim Harbaugh, his former head coach at Stanford University. It will be interesting seeing how Luck does against a retooled 49ers’s secondary. Look for Luck to throw the ball an awful lot because their rushing offense will be very ineffective against the 49ers shutdown run defense.
San Francisco 49ers @ St Louis Rams September 26 5:23 PM PST
Thursday Night Football makes it’s 2013 NFC West debut when the Rams host the 49ers. The Rams had the third-best record within the division last year and will be looking to make a statement by beating the favorite to win the division. Chris Long has given Anthony Davis fits. The Rams played their best games against the 49ers last year, and will look at this game as a chance to put themselves in position to take back the NFC West.
Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers October 6 5:30 PM PST
The 49ers will be on Sunday Night Football once again as they host the Texans in what could be a Super Bowl preview. These are two of the more successful teams over the past couple of season. Both of these teams are very balanced and will look to show the NFL that they are indeed elite. Arian Foster against the 49ers stout run defense will be an interesting matchup. Another one to watch will be Jonathan Joseph against Michael Crabtree. This game should be a high scoring affair.
San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints November 17 1:25 PST
The Saints will host the 49ers as they return to the scene of their first ever Super Bowl loss. The Saints can score points in bunches and they will be looking to avenge two straight losses to the 49ers. The Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman duo against Darren Sproles matchup will be one to watch. If the 49ers draft a bigger safety like an Eric Reid, he will get his chance to see how he matches up with Jimmy Graham.
San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins November 25 5:40 PST
Monday Night Football hits the nation’s capital. Two of the most promising dual threat quarterbacks will play in this game. The always talkative DeAngelo Hall will get to lock up with Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. Alfred Morris had a sensational rookie season and will be tough for the 49ers to stop. Robert Griffin III will look to work the read option against the 49ers but most teams don’t have the sideline to sideline speed that Willis and Bowman possess. This game will also see Josh Morgan get the chance to go against his former team.
Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers December 23 5:40 PST
Monday Night Football is coming on. The Falcons and 49ers face off in an NFC Championship rematch. Julio Jones against Nnamdi Asogmuha is the matchup to watch in this game. Vernon Davis had 21 yards per catch against the Falcons last year. The Falcons will come into this game fired up and looking to avenge their playoff loss.
Old Faces – New Faces
The 49ers travel to Tennessee to face the Titans on October 20th. Delanie Walker will face off against his former team for the first time.
Dashon Goldson and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be waiting for the 49ers on December 15. He will surely be looking to remind the 49ers of the bone rattling picks along with his play making ability.