Who and where will the San Francisco 49ers play in 2016? Take a look at the team's schedule next year.
- In this Wednesday edition of Niners Daily, we peek into the future for a first look at who and where the San Francisco 49ers will play a year from now.*
First things first, let's get this out of the way: 49ers players and coaches hardly care about the contents of this post at this juncture. The team is solely focused on 2015.
Now that we've got that covered, let's move on. The 2015 NFL Record & Fact Book was released by the league on Tuesday, and it included the official list of opponents for each team for the 2016 season (h/t to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle).
Technically, we already knew this information based on the NFL's rotating schedule, which has been used since the league expanded to 32 teams in 2002. But it's still fun to see the future home and away contests confirmed.
So without further delay, here's San Francisco's slate of games for the fall of 2016.
Home:New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and New York Jets
Away: **Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins
The 49ers, of course, will also play home and away games versus their NFC West rivals (St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals). The remaining two opponents will be determined by the final standings in 2015. San Francisco will play the same-place finisher in the NFC East and NFC North.
At first glance, it appears as if the majority of San Francisco's marquee games will take place at home.
Whenever the 49ers face Drew Brees and the Saints, which feels like a yearly occurrence (eight times since 2006), games always come down the wire. San Francisco will also get to host the No. 1 overall pick from this year's draft, Jameis Winston, when the Buccaneers travel to Levi's® Stadium. And likely the most anticipated game of the season will be when Tom Brady, a Bay Area native and 49ers fan growing up, returns to Northern California with the Patriots.
The last time San Francisco faced New England was in 2012, when the 49ers pulled out a 41-34 win in Foxboro to clinch a playoff spot. Colin Kaepernick threw for four touchdowns in that game while Brady totalled 443 yards.
As for the road schedule, the 49ers will be able to see the $400 million in renovations the Dolphins are pouring into Sun Life Stadium. Matchups against Matt Ryan and Cam Newton also offer distinct storylines.
Which game are you most looking forward to? The comment section below is there for you to weigh in.