The NFL regular season schedule is finally here. To celebrate the 16-game slate, we have previewed each of the San Francisco 49ers eight games at new Levi’s® Stadium, including five non-divisional matchups.
Related: 49ers 2014 Ticket Information
One note to start: San Francisco’s 2014 home opponents compiled a 32-32 road record last season.
Week 2 vs. Chicago Bears
Bears ’13 Road Record: 3-5
All-time Series: SF and CHI are tied, 29-29-1
Matchup: Jim Harbaugh will lead his team against the Bears for the second time; Harbaugh played in Chicago the first six seasons of his NFL career. There’s also some history here for his current quarterback.
Week 4 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles ’13 Road Record: 6-2
All-time Series: PHI leads SF, 17-12-1
Matchup: The 49ers and Eagles played each other four straight seasons starting in 2008, and the last two games were decided by a combined four points. The most memorable sequence came in their last duel, at Lincoln Financial Field in Oct. 2011:
Week 5 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs 2013 Road Record: 6-2
All-time Series: SF leads KC, 6-5, in the regular season
Matchup: The 49ers got their first look at their former quarterback when they visited the Chiefs last preseason. Now San Francisco will host Alex Smith at its new digs with fans that know Smith well. There’s that, and there’s also this: Kansas City enjoyed a major turnaround in its first season with coach Andy Reid at the helm. In fact, they went from 2-14 in 2012 to 11-5 in ’13. The team lost its fair share of free agents this offseason (including offensive tackle Branden Albert and defensive tackle Tyson Jackson among others) but should be well equipped to challenge the 49ers.
Week 9 vs. St. Louis Rams
Rams ’13 Road Record: 2-6
All-time Series: SF leads STL, 63-62-3
Matchup: The 49ers have played no NFL team as much as the Rams. So it makes sense that they have made the most trips to Northern California, although they haven’t won here since 2007, or in six tries. Coach Jeff Fisher helped St. Louis to a 24-24 tie in San Francisco in Nov. 2012, but Harbaugh and his staff have seemed to figure out a formula against their divisional foe. The last two meetings, home and away, have been decided by a total of 34 points. What the NFC West’s last-place team a year ago does with its bounty of draft picks, including two in the top 13, could help shift the tide back in its favor.
Week 12 vs. Washington Redskins
Redskins ’13 Road Record: 1-7
All-time Series: SF leads WAS, 16-9-1
Matchup: The 49ers will face Jackson in 2014, but when they welcome the Redskins to town. Of course, Washington’s ’13 season, during which Mike Shanahan went 3-13 in his fourth and final season on the sideline, was more about quarterback Robert Griffin III. RGIII certainly wasn’t at his best against San Francisco last November; he was sacked six times, threw an interception and totaled 118 passing yards in a 27-6 loss at FedEx Field. Now new coach Jay Gruden and Co. will lead the Redskins into a non-division contest at Levi’s® Stadium.
Week 13 vs. Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks ’13 Road Record: 6-2
All-time Series: SF and SEA are tied, 15-15
Matchup: Will Levi’s® Stadium give the 49ers a home-field advantage that the Super Bowl champion Seahawks enjoy at CenturyLink Field? Well, if the 49ers new home is anything like Candlestick Park, there could be a status quo in this respect: San Francisco has bested Seattle in five straight games played in the Bay Area. Pete Carroll has not topped Harbaugh in the state since both were roaming Pac-10(now-12) sidelines.
Week 16 vs. San Diego Chargers
Chargers ’13 Road Record: 4-4
All-time Series: SF and SD are tied, 6-6
Matchup: The 49ers will get their first look at their longtime preseason partner in the final exhibition this summer. They haven’t met in the regular season, however, since 2010. The Chargers have actually won the teams’ last three matchups and by a combined score of 102-44. After a couple of down years, San Diego also appears on the rise again. Coach Mike McCoy guided Phillip Rivers and his friends to a 9-7 mark and an appearance in the AFC divisional round a year ago. The offense added free agent Donald Brown this offseason and should be yet another challenge for San Francisco’s defensive unit.
Week 17 vs. Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals ’13 Road Record: 4-4
All-time Series: SF leads AZ, 28-17
Matchup: The Cardinals know what it’s like to open a new venue, having christened University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006. Arizona made the Super Bowl three years later. Such a wait wouldn’t be satisfactory in Santa Clara, and the Cards wouldn’t mind delaying the 49ers trip back to the NFL’s ultimate game. First-year coach Bruce Arians went 0-2 against Harbaugh last season, including a 32-20 defeat at The ‘Stick in October, but his team is on the rise and the 49ers will have to be ready for a 10-win team that was on the outside of the playoff picture in ’13.