As far as the offseason goes, April is a pretty big month for NFL fans. Players return for the start of the offseason program, the regular season schedule is released and the NFL Draft serves as the grand finale.
Well, phase two of that highly anticipated triumvirate is finally here. It’s time to sink our teeth into the San Francisco 49ers 2017 regular season schedule. Here are the 10 biggest takeaways from the first 16-game slate of the Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch era.
1. Starting at Home
San Francisco currently owns a six-game winning streak in season openers. Over the past two years, the 49ers have beaten the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams in Week 1 home games on “Monday Night Football.”
2. Right into the Rivalry
A Week 2 divisional matchup against the Seattle Seahawks starts a run of three straight games against an NFC West opponent. The 49ers will host the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3 and play on the road in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals.
3. One Shot on Primetime
The Week 3 home game against the Rams will be featured on NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” and stands as the team’s lone primetime contest of the season. The 49ers have won their past three matchups against the Rams.
4. Taking the Show on the Road
Improving on the road will be crucial for San Francisco in 2017 as the 49ers have won just two games away from home over the past two years.
5. Protecting Home Turf
After a grueling stretch of road games in October (four out of five to be exact), the month of November is very kind to the 49ers from a travel perspective. And by kind, that means San Francisco doesn’t travel at all. The team will host the Cardinals in Week 9, the Giants in Week 10 and the Seahawks in Week 12 following a bye in Week 11.
6. Speaking of the Bye…
The late-season bye could prove beneficial down the stretch should the 49ers be fighting for a playoff spot. Given the option, a vast majority of players would choose to have their week off as late in the season as possible. Rest and recovery are always important during a bye week. Two weeks to prepare for the Seahawks won’t hurt, either.
… a Week 13 road game against the Chicago Bears. This is the third straight year that the 49ers will travel to Soldier Field in this exact spot on the schedule. San Francisco has split those contests, winning in 2015 before losing last season in a blizzard.
8. Tis the Season
San Francisco will end the year with a pair of holiday matchups. The 49ers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Christmas Eve and then travel to Los Angeles for a New Years Eve contest against the Rams in Week 17.
9. Rise and Shine
West Coast teams travelling east is always a popular storyline. So just how many times will the 49ers play in the early window? Five. San Francisco’s 10:00 a.m. PST starts include road games against the Colts, Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Bears and Houston Texans. Be sure to set your alarms accordingly if you reside in the Pacific time zone.
10. Seeing Old Friends
Many of the newest players on the 49ers roster will have the opportunity to face their former team.
Potential starting quarterback