Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The San Francisco 49ers’ 2020 regular season schedule was released last week. The reigning NFC Champions received a schedule that reflects their status as one of the best teams in the league. They will play five prime-time games, four of which are at home, against premium opponents. Needless to say, there are plenty of games to be excited about. I picked my four favorites that I am most looking forward to.
Week 7: @ New England Patriots
When Kyle Shanahan was hired as the 49ers’ head coach, he was fresh off a Super Bowl loss as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator. The Falcons famously blew a 28-3 lead and Shanahan needed to understand how that happened. At his first NFL scouting combine for the 49ers, he sought advice from the very man that defeated him a month prior: New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick. Week 7 in Foxborough will be the first time they square off against each other on the sidelines. It also marks the return of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who was drafted by the Patriots. Even with Tom Brady no longer in a Patriots uniform, I am eager to see Shanahan go head-to-head with The Hoodie.
Week 9: vs. Green Bay Packers (Thursday Night Football)
It is a rematch of the NFC Championship Game in prime time. This should be enough to get the juices flowing for anyone but since you’re going to twist my arm, I’ll give more reasons. “Disrespectful Kyle” pulled out all the stops to embarrass his former boss, Packers’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, twice last season. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers will certainly want to redeem himself this season after a pair of poor performances but the 49ers’ revamped defensive line may have a thing or two to say about that. Can the 49ers stretch their streak of 30-plus point games against Green Bay to four? Shanahan and company will certainly be gunning for it.
Week 13: vs. Buffalo Bills (Monday Night Football)
This is the most personal choice on the list. I spent a weekend with Bills Mafia in Orchard Park during the 2019 season and find the people to be delightful: pounding Labatt Blues, throwing people through tables and having an actual wrestling ring outside the stadium. Pure salt of the earth people. From a football perspective, this game is more interesting than folks think. For all the genius and intensity Shanahan shows on the offensive side of the ball, Buffalo Bills’ head coach Sean McDermott is the exact same for the defense. The Bills boast one of the best defensive units in the league and their offense took strides throughout the offseason to improve. This game is going to come down to which version of QB Josh Allen shows up. If it is Good Josh Allen, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will have his hands full. If we see Bad Josh Allen, expect the 49ers’ defense to feast.
Week 17: Seattle Seahawks
Last year, the NFC West title came down to an inch on the final game of the NFL’s 100th season. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw tackled Seahawks’ tight end Jacob Hollister just shy of the goal line and the 49ers rode the first-round bye in the playoffs to a Super Bowl appearance. For consecutive years, the 49ers and Seahawks will renew their rivalry during the final week of the year. Depending on the importance, this game is a prime candidate to be flexed into Sunday Night Football for the 49ers’ sixth prime-time game. Shanahan-Carroll, Garoppolo-Wilson, Deebo-DK, Warner-Wagner. Bring it on.
You can follow Matt on Twitter here!
Stay tuned to 49ersHub for more great 49ers coverage and analysis!