The San Francisco 49ers finally have their 2019 regular season schedule in hand. The opponents have been set since January, but now the team knows exactly when and where they'll be playing. Let's dive into what sticks out about this year's 16-game slate.
1. Road Warriors
San Francisco open the season with back-to-back road games for the first time since 1997. The 49ers visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. That means Kwon Alexander, assuming he's healthy and active, will make his 49ers debut against his former team back in Tampa. Five of the 49ers first eight contests will take place away from home.
2. Home Opener
The 49ers will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 for the team's home opener. It will be the first time the 49ers have played the Steelers since 2015. Pittsburgh will have a different look in 2019 now that Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown have moved on to other clubs. That game will also serve as Terrell Owens' induction into the Edward J. Debartolo San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame.
3. Prime Time
Everyone is always eager to see how prime time games are divvied up each year. The 49ers will have three such games, beginning at home in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns on "Monday Night Football." Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and the high-profile Browns are one of the marquee matchups at Levi's® Stadium in 2019. San Francisco will also travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals on "Thursday Night Football" in Week 9. The team hasn't played a road Thursday game since 2013. The 49ers will host the Seattle Seahawks the very next week on "Monday Night Football."
It's important to note that San Francisco has several intriguing games late in the season: a Week 14 road game against the New Orleans Saints and a Week 17 home game against the Los Angeles Rams. Either of those could conceivably be flexed into "Sunday Night Football" should the 49ers remain in playoff contention throughout the season. The Rams game in particular is listed as a TBD date and could either be played on Saturday Dec. 21 or Sunday Dec. 22. The exact date and start time for that contest will be announced no later than following Week 8.
4. September Bye Week
The 49ers will take an early bye week this year in Week 4. This season will mark the first time that San Francisco has had a Week 4 bye since 2002. San Francisco will get a psuedo-bye in between the Thursday game against Arizona and the Monday night game against Seattle the following week. Players will potentially have that Friday-Tuesday off before returning to work on Wednesday.
5. New Kids on the Block
San Francisco faces five new head coaches in 2019: Bruce Arians (Bucs), Matt LaFleur (Packers), Freddie Kitchens (Browns), Zac Taylor (Bengals) and Kliff Kingsbury (Cardinals) twice.
6. Familiar Foes
Kyle Shanahan will see his old friends with the Atlanta Falcons for the first time since becoming the 49ers head coach. San Francisco hosts Atlanta in Week 15.
7. Enduring the Elements
The 49ers should only have to brave the cold one time in 2019: a Week 13 road game against the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 1. Getting road games out of the way early against Cincinnati and the Washington Redskins is a welcome sight for the team.
8. Grand Finale
San Francisco closes the year in Seattle against the Seahawks. That offers a prime opportunity for the 49ers to not only win their first game at CenturyLink Field since 2011, but potentially clinch a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2013.