The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a very successful 2019 campaign, where they made it all the way to Super Bowl LIV before falling to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. While it was a bitter loss, the 49ers appear to be a team on the rise. They have a couple of talented young wideouts, a dynamic backfield and one of the best defenses in the NFL. The 2020 season may be an important one when it comes to the quarterback position, however. While the team and head coach Kyle Shanahan are completely behind Jimmy Garoppolo as of now, he has to show that he can improve and get them back to the big game in his second season as the full-time starter. But will the 49ers be able to build on their huge 2019 season? How much will the schedule help them out this year?
Below, we'll break down San Francisco's 2020 schedule by week and pinpoint all of the prime-time games to keep an eye on. We'll also dive into the 49ers' strength of schedule, what we project as their toughest stretch of games and more. Without further ado, let's dive right into it.
2020 schedule (All times Eastern)
- Week 1: Sept. 13 vs. Cardinals, 4:25 p.m., Fox
- Week 2: Sept. 20 at Jets, 1 p.m., Fox
- Week 3: Sept. 27 at Giants 1 p.m., Fox
- Week 4: Oct. 4 vs. Eagles (Sunday Night Football), 8:20 p.m., NBC
- Week 5: Oct. 11 vs. Dolphins, 4:05 p.m., Fox
- Week 6: Oct. 18 vs. Rams (Sunday Night Football), 8:20 p.m., NBC
- Week 7: Oct. 25 at Patriots, 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Week 8: Nov. 1 at Seahawks, 4:25 p.m., Fox
- Week 9: Nov. 5 vs. Packers (Thursday Night Football), 8:20 p.m., Fox/NFL Network
- Week 10: Nov. 15 at Saints, 4:25 p.m., Fox
- BYE WEEK
- Week 12: Nov. 29 at Rams, 4:05 p.m., Fox
- Week 13: Dec. 7 vs. Bills (Monday Night Football), 8:15 p.m., ESPN
- Week 14: Dec. 13 vs. Redskins, 4:25 p.m., Fox
- Week 15: Dec. 20 at Cowboys (Sunday Night Football), 8:20 p.m., NBC
- Week 16: Dec. 26 OR Dec. 27 at Cardinals, TBD
- Week 17: Jan. 3 vs. Seahawks, 4:25 p.m., Fox
The 49ers' first game played at home in 2020 will come against the Cardinals in Week 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. ET on Sept. 13.
The Pick Six Podcast gang fired up a new episode breaking down every eye-catching aspect of the NFL's schedule release. Give it a listen below, and be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform:
As noted above in the schedule breakdown, the 49ers will be playing in five prime-time games in 2020. They will have one on the road and four at home. In 2019, the 49ers also played in five prime-time games: A Week 5 matchup with the Browns on "Monday Night Football" in Cleveland, a "Thursday Night Football" matchup with the Cardinals in Arizona in Week 9, a "Monday Night Football" matchup with the Seahawks in the Bay the following week, a Week 16 Saturday night matchup with the Rams and then a "Sunday Night Football" matchup in Seattle to cap it all off.
It's pretty clear where the toughest stretch of the schedule occurs for the 49ers in 2020 -- it's right in the middle of the season. In Week 6 they take on the Rams in prime time -- which might be a trap game. They then travel to take on the Patriots and Seahawks before returning home to host the Packers on a short week in Week 9. The following week, they have to travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints before they get to the bye week. We all have high hopes for the 49ers in 2020, but they can't suffer three or four losses right before their bye.
Strength of schedule
Earlier this offseason, John Breech broke down the 2020 strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams based on combined opponent winning percentage in 2019. After finishing first in the NFC West, the 49ers will face the fourth-toughest strength of schedule in 2020. For a complete look at every team's strength of schedule, .
However, when basing strength of schedule on the over/under win totals for each team's opponents during the 2020 season at William Hill, the 49ers go from facing the fourth-toughest schedule in the league to facing the No. 15 easiest schedule. For a complete look at every team's strength of schedule using this methodology, check out Jared Dubin's full breakdown here.