The 49ers had a different hangover style losing the Super Bowl in 2020. After going 13-3 and winning the NFC in 2019, a rash of injuries took San Francisco down to 6-10 and last place in the difficult NFC West.
Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch expect a massive rebound when running on the 2021 NFL schedule. The quarterback change looms from Jimmy Garoppolo to first-round rookie Trey Lance, but around the quarterback the 49ers still have solid running play, dynamic receivers and a defense that should again be a versatile force, led by healthy Nick Bosa.
Will the 49ers look more like the best team in the NFC rather than one of the worst? Here’s a full breakdown of the 49ers’ 2021 schedule, including dates, start times, and analysis for all 17 games.
NFL OFF-SEASON 2021:
Draft notes team by team | Latest power rankings
2021 San Francisco 49ers schedule
The 49ers open the 2021 season on the road, against the Detroit Lions Sept. 12 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox.
Here’s the full San Francisco 49ers schedule for 2021.
|1||Sep 12||among the Lions||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|2||Sep 19||at Eagles||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|3||Sep 26||vs Packers||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
|4||October 3||against Seahawks||4:05 p.m. ET||Fox|
|5||October 10||at Cardinals||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|7||24 october||vs Colts||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
|8||October 31||among bears||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|9||November 7||vs. Cardinals||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|ten||November 15||against Rams||8:15 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|11||21 November||at Jaguars||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|12||November 28||against the Vikings||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|13||Dec 5||at Seahawks||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
|14||12 dec.||to the Bengals||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|15||Dec 19||against Falcons||4:05 p.m. ET||CBS|
|16||23 december||at Titans||8:20 p.m. ET||NFL Network|
|17||January 2||against Texans||4:05 p.m. ET||CBS|
|18||January 9||at Rams||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
The 49ers will look to go from worst to first, hoping to be more formidable enemies for the Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks in their usual six-division games. They can also play the NFC North and AFC South quartets.
Due to their abnormal results in 2020, the 49ers are setting a last-place schedule. Beyond the Lions and Jaguars, that means they will also play the NFC Eagles and Falcons and the AFC Bengals.
MORE: Calendar strength for all 32 teams in 2021
49ers calendar force
The 49ers are tied with the Bills and Patriots for the 12th easiest schedule in the NFL. Opponents San Francisco in 2021 were 132-138-2 last season, for a .489 winning percentage. The Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks all have much harder slates compared to the 49ers.
There are four games in the division against returning playoff teams, against Seattle and Los Angeles. Green Bay, Chicago, Indianapolis and Tennessee make eight in 17 games, but that is offset by many weak teams.
Most difficult tests: Every game in NFC West is tough. The 49ers also face the Packers, Vikings and Colts in San Francisco. When moving on the road outside of the division, the Titans and the Bears are the two limited challenges.
The biggest breaks: All the last place teams are nice, led by the Jaguars, Lions, Bengals and Falcons. The Texans could be the worst team in the NFL and the Eagles are also in transition. There are six golden opportunities to complete the record in the quest to be the best in the NFC West again.
At the end of the line: The 49ers will take full advantage of their low season and the rewards of the calendar that goes with it. Anyone who’s a quarterback, the offense will be explosive and the defense will play that to make their share of the big plays. Coaching is too good under Shanahan, despite some staff losses. Staff point to another big 180.
Save prediction: 12-5