Take a look back at previous match ups of the San Francisco 49ers against their 2016 preseason opponents.
Football is getting closer.
With Thursday's release of the San Francisco 49ers preseason schedule, we now know how and where the red and gold will get tuned up for the 2016 season.
The 49ers open the preseason with a home matchup against the AFC South's Houston Texans. The following week, San Francisco heads on the road to face the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos of the AFC West. The 49ers third preseason contest will take place at Levi's® Stadium against the Green Bay Packers of the NFC North. Lastly, San Francisco concludes its exhibition play with an annual meeting with the AFC West's San Diego Chargers.
For more on the top storylines and interesting notes surrounding the four games, let's take a look at nine intriguing things for 49ers fans to know about the preseason.
1. Three of San Francisco's preseason opponents appeared in the postseason in 2015. The Texans were defeated in the Wild Card round by the Kansas City Chiefs, 30-0. The Green Bay Packers were edged in overtime in the NFC Divisional Playoff round by the Arizona Cardinals, 26-20. And as we all know, the Broncos controlled the Carolina Panthers, 24-10, to win Super Bowl 50 at Levi's® Stadium. The 49ers, however, won't have to face future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. "The Sheriff" retired earlier this offseason.
2. San Francisco has faced San Diego in 30 consecutive preseasons. The 49ers lead the all-time preseason series, 24-20, and beat the Chargers at home, 14-12, in the 2015 preseason finale.
3. The 49ers Week 3 preseason matchup will serve as a revenge game of sorts. Of the four preseason opponents, the Green Bay Packers are the only team San Francisco faced in the 2015 regular season. The Packers beat the 49ers, 17-3, on Oct. 4 at Levi's® Stadium. The third preseason game serves as a dress rehearsal for veteran players, who tend to play into the third quarter. In this instance, key contributors like NaVorro Bowman will get an opportunity to see quality extended action against Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay's potent offensive attack.
4. The 49ers do not face any of their preseason opponents in the regular season.
5. Last year's preseason opener against Houston saw Texans coach Bill O'Brien elect to sit several key veterans out of action. The 49ers did not face three-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. Will "O.B" elect to use a similar tactic against San Francisco come this preseason?
6. One of the most fascinating storylines last preseason for the 49ers was the development of Australian rugby league import, Jarryd Hayne, who utilized the exhibition games to make a strong case to be included on the 53-man roster. Hayne dazzled with several highlight-worthy plays in his first NFL action. What will the "Hayne Plane" have in store in 2016?
7. Along those same lines, the preseason offers emerging young talent an opportunity to climb the depth chart based on their game performances. Veterans tend to not play long, so playing time can be seized by those players who flash game-changing ability.
8. San Francisco has a pair of sophomore receivers, DeAndre Smelter and Dres Anderson, who spent their rookie campaigns on injury lists due to medical setbacks they suffered in college. How will the wideouts handle their anticipated NFL debuts? The same can be said for the incoming rookie class which consist of 12 draft picks and several undrafted rookie free agents.
9. Lastly, how will new head coach Chip Kelly split up playing time in the preseason? A new coaching staff alsways brings in new philosophies, especially in the preseason. Four preseason games under coach Kelly will offer a glimpse into what fans can expect all season long from the 49ers in terms of style of play.