The 2015 regular schedule speaks volumes about the San Francisco 49ers brand.
Despite an 8-8 record in 2014, the NFL schedule committee awarded the team with four primetime games on Tuesday, beginning with a Week 1 home opener against the Minnesota Vikings on "Monday Night Football." The four appearances on primetime matches the team's total from a season ago.
Levi's® Stadium also deserves plenty of credit. The sterling home of the 49ers will host three out of those four contests, eliciting well-deserved attention from a national audience. The Vikings matchup will also mark the first Monday night game in the young history of Levi's® Stadium.
A look at the 2015 regular season schedule for the San Francisco 49ers.
Here's the full primetime calendar:
Week 1 – Monday Night Football – vs. Minnesota Vikings – 7:20 p.m. PT
Week 5 – Sunday Night Football – at New York Giants – 5:30 p.m. PT
Week 7 – Thursday Night Football – vs. Seattle Seahawks – 5:25 p.m. PT
Week 15 – Sunday Night Football – vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 5:30 p.m. PT
San Francisco's all-time series with Minnesota is dead even with each team owning 22 wins against the other. The two franchises also tied a game way back in September of 1966. The Vikings have won each of the last three meetings between the two sides, most recently a 24-13 victory in 2012 at the Metrodome. The 49ers last win against the Vikings came in 2006, a 9-3 clash of kickers at Candlestick Park.
Week 1 is also set to be the return of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. The star ball-carrier was recently reinstated after being suspended without pay for nearly all of 2014. Peterson's return comes exactly one year after his last game action, a 21-carry, 75-yard performance against the Rams in week 1 of last season. There have been rumblings of AP's desire for a trade, but as of now, he's on course to be a member of the Vikings in 2015.
The 49ers will travel to MetLife Stadium for the second time in as many seasons for a Week 5 meeting with Eli Manning and the New York Giants. San Francisco beat the Giants 16-10 last year behind three Phil Dawson field goals. This year, the matchup will be featured on NBC's "Sunday Night Football." The all-time series is tied at 19 wins apiece.
Two weeks later, San Francisco will host Seattle on "Thursday Night Football" for a second consecutive year. Thanksgiving Day memories will be fresh on the minds of a 49ers team looking to avenge a 19-3 home loss to its division rival in 2014. Prior to that game, San Francisco had won five consecutive home games against Seattle.
Take a look at photos from the 49ers past matchups against the team's opponents in the 2015 preseason.
San Francisco's primetime calendar concludes in week 15 with an AFC North matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on "Sunday Night Football." The 49ers hold an 11-3 edge in the all-time series but haven't played the Bengals since a 13-8 victory in 2011 from Paul Brown Stadium. The contest will be Cincinnati's first trip to San Francisco since 2007, a game the 49ers won 20-13. San Francisco is 5-1 at home all-time against Cincinnati and hasn't lost since 1974. This game, as with all Sunday night contests starting in week five, could be flexed out at the NFL's discretion.
The history between the two franchises extends to the postseason, with the 49ers beating the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI and XXIII.
49ers Primetime Fast Facts:
- Going back to 1970, the 49ers own a 68-36 record in primetime games.
- In that time span, San Francisco owns a home record of 40-17 in primetime.
- 2015 will be just the sixth time in franchise history that the 49ers have opened the season on "Monday Night Football."
- San Francisco's 46 wins on "Monday Night Football" are the most of any NFL franchise.