Time to rejoice: The 2016 San Francisco 49ers regular season schedule is hot off the press.
Without further delay, let's dissect the key takeaways from the team's upcoming 16-game slate. We’ve known for months who San Francisco would play in Chip Kelly's first season in the Bay Area – now we know when the key matchups will take place.
Let's dive into Thursday's mega announcement and review the key storylines on the 2016 schedule.
1. The opener renews a long-time divisional rivalry on a primetime stage.
San Francisco's Week 1 opener, a Sept. 12 home matchup with the Los Angeles Rams on "Monday Night Football," reignites an in-state rivalry between NFC West foes. The Rams, who recently traded up with the Tennessee Titans for the No. 1 overall selection in this year's draft, will face the 49ers with the top college prospect on their sideline. Los Angeles will play San Francisco as a California franchise for the first time since the 1994 season. That year, the 49ers swept the season series on their way to winning the franchise's fifth Super Bowl.
2. The 49ers will face tough competition throughout the year, especially in the opening weeks.
San Francisco is tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the toughest strength of schedule of all 32 NFL clubs. The 49ers opponents had a .555 win percentage in 2015.
Four of the team's 13 regular season opponents (Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots) were in the postseason a year ago, but many more were on the cusp.
The 49ers begin the season with three critical games right off the bat. The primetime season opener with Los Angeles is followed up by back-to-back road games with the Panthers and Seahawks, who feature two of the league's most dangerous signal-callers in reigning NFL MVP Camp Newton and Russell Wilson.
San Francisco will later welcome Bay Area native Tom Brady to Levi's® Stadium for the first time ever in a Week 11 game against the Patriots on Nov. 20.
3. You can watch the 49ers play this season on Twitter.
Yes, you read that correctly.
San Francisco's world-renowned social media company will stream "Thursday Night Football" matchups to a global audience across devices throughout the regular season.
San Francisco's Week 5 home game against the Cardinals will allow fans to watch the games remotely. The matchup will also simulcast on CBS and NFL Network.
The Oct. 6, SF-AZ divisional rivalry will be the first Thursday night meeting between the two clubs.
4. The 49ers travel 25,328 travel miles and play four games with 10 a.m. PT start times.
One of the hardest things for a West Coast team is to adjust its body clock to East Coast start times. Three of San Francisco's four games in the Eastern Time Zone (Week 2 at Carolina, Week 6 at the Buffalo Bills and Week 12 at the Miami Dolphins) will begin at 10 a.m. PT. The lone exception will be in Week 15 at the Atlanta Falcons, which is scheduled for a 1:05 p.m. PT kick-off.
San Francisco's travel mileage will really skyrocket in the final six weeks of the regular season. The 49ers will head on the road to face the Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Falcons and Rams in Weeks 12, 13, 15 and 16, respectively.
5. San Francisco has a well-timed bye week.
Check out the matchup graphics with details about each of the 49ers 16 regular season games.
The 49ers bye week is smack dab in the middle of the season – Week 8 – just how you like it.
Following seven games to start the year, including three slugfests in the division, San Francisco will enjoy the bye week on Oct. 30. It's worth noting – Halloween weekend will not conflict with 49ers plans this year.
The bye week also means Kelly's coaching staff will have two weeks to prepare for a Week 9 home game against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 6.
6. The 49ers will close out the regular season on New Year's Day.
The only holidays San Francisco's schedule conflicts with are Christmas Eve (Saturday, Dec. 24 at Los Angeles) and New Year's Day (Sunday, Jan. 1 vs. Seattle).
The 49ers will wrap up the regular season with a home rivalry game against the Seahawks. San Francisco has won five of its last seven home games against Seattle.