Ladies and gentlemen, start making your traveling arrangements: The full 2012 NFL schedule has been released and the 49ers will play in five, count them five, primetime regular season games.
The 49ers will open up coach Jim Harbaugh’s second season at historic Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers, marking the first time San Francisco has faced the Packers in a season opener since 1976. Other notable, non-primetime games include playoff rematches against the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints are spaced out six weeks apart in a competitive slate of games.
Three of the previously mentioned primetime games will take place at Candlestick Park; the other two will be on the road, giving a wide scope of 49ers Faithful the opportunity to see their beloved team in person.
For local fans, the 49ers will host the Detroit Lions on Sept. 16 under the lights of NBC’s Sunday Night Football for the team’s Week 2 home opener. Five weeks later, the 49ers will host the Seattle Seahawks for a Thursday night matchup on NFL Network. In the second half of 2012, the 49ers will host the Chicago Bears on Nov. 19 for a Week 11 Monday night tilt.
As for the marquee road matchups, the team will visit the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 28 for a Week 8 meeting on Monday night. The 49ers will later travel to New England to face the Patriots in a Week 15 Sunday Night Football matchup on Dec. 16.
For more on the 2012 schedule, let’s take a week-by-week look at the matchups that lie ahead for the 49ers.
For the first time since 1976, the San Francisco 49ers will face the Green Bay Packers in a Sept. 9 season opener. Back in ’76, the 49ers edged the Packers 26-14 under head coach Monte Clark. This time around, the 49ers will be searching for their first regular season win at historic Lambeau Field since 1990, when Joe Montana led the 49ers to a 24-20 win. It’s worth noting the 49ers defeated the Packers in the 1998 playoffs. All-time, the 49ers are 26-34-1 against the Packers.
One of the most memorable 49ers games from last season will have a return match, so to speak, when the Detroit Lions visit Candlestick Park for the home opener on Sept. 16. The 49ers edged the Lions on the road last year 25-19 thanks to a fourth-down touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Delanie Walker. The abrupt ending to last year’s game will certainly make things more intriguing when the team’s meet at Candlestick Park for the third time in five years. The 49ers have won 15 of their last 17 games against the Lions dating back to 1983. All-time, the 49ers are 36-27-1 against the Lions.
The only team the 49ers face both in the preseason and regular season are the Minnesota Vikings, who will host the 49ers on Sept. 23 at the Metrodome. The 49ers were defeated in heart-breaking fashion the last time the teams met in the 2009 regular season when future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre completed a game-winning touchdown pass on the last play from scrimmage for a 27-24 victory. This time around, the 49ers will face second-year quarterback Christian Ponder who looks to start the season under center for Minnesota. All-time, the 49ers are 22-21-1 against the Vikings.
The 49ers will stay on the road for back-to-back weeks as they travel to The Big Apple to face the New York Jets on Sept. 30 at Met Life Stadium. The 49ers were defeated by the Jets 22-14 when the team’s last met in New York during the 2004 regular season. San Francisco defeated New York 24-14 when the team’s last met in 2008. All-time, the 49ers are 9-2 against the Jets.
For consecutive weeks the 49ers will face opponents from the AFC East, this time, hosting the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 7. San Francisco last faced Buffalo in 2008, defeating the Bills 10-3 on the road. Both teams have changed drastically since that time and were a combined 9-1 last season through five weeks. All-time, the 49ers are 5-5 against the Bills.
It’s one of the games everyone’s been waiting for, a rematch between the 49ers and New York Giants will take place Sunday, Oct. 14 at Candlestick Park. The teams met twice in 2011, with the 49ers winning at home in the regular season, but ultimately falling short in the NFC Championship game to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Giants. All-time, the 49ers are 18-18 against the Giants.
San Francisco’s second primetime matchup of 2012 takes place again at Candlestick Park when the Seattle Seahawks come into town. It also marks the 49ers’ first NFC West divisional matchup of the 2012 regular season. Last year, the 49ers swept the Seahawks in divisional play. All-time, the 49ers are 13-13 against the Seahawks.
For back-to-back weeks the 49ers will play at night and against an NFC West foe. This time, the Arizona Cardinals host the 49ers Oct. 29 on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” The 49ers split the season series with the Cardinals last season, having lost in Arizona 21-19. Former 49ers guard Adam Snyder, who signed with the Cardinals this offseason, will face his former teammates for the first time. All-time, the 49ers are 24-17 against the Cardinals.
The 49ers will enjoy a nicely positioned bye week which splits their season equally at the midway point.
The second-half of the 2012 schedule kicks off at home against the new-look St. Louis Rams led by new coach Jeff Fisher. The 49ers swept the Rams in 2011, clinching an NFC West title in a home victory and the NFC’s No. 2 seed in a road victory. All-time, the 49ers are 62-61-2 against the Rams.
The teams that lost in the last two NFC Championship games will meet on “Monday Night Football,” when the 49ers host the Chicago Bears for an Nov. 19 meeting. The team’s last met in 2009, where Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was intercepted five times by the 49ers on their way to a 10-6 victory. All-time, the 49ers are 31-29-1 against the Bears.
One of the most anticipated regular season games on the 49ers schedule takes place in New Orleans when the 49ers face the team they knocked out of the Divisional Playoff Round on Nov. 25. It’s safe to say the Saints will be out to stop the 49ers and the “Vernon Post.” All-time, the 49ers are 46-24-2 against the Saints.
The 49ers will stay on the road in Week 13 to face the St. Louis Rams, three weeks after the teams meet initially at Candlestick Park. The NFC West matchup begins the team’s final four-week period of the season. All-time, the 49ers are 62-61-2 against the Rams.
Perhaps Frank Gore will finally get a chance to play against his hometown team when the 49ers host the Dolphins on Dec. 9. Gore was unable to play the last time the team’s met in 2008, a Miami victory. All-time, the 49ers are 5-6 against the Dolphins.
The 49ers will compete again on the East Coast when they face the AFC Champion New England Patriots on NBC’s Sunday Night Football set for Dec. 16. The 49ers are 3-3 all-time at New England and haven’t played in there since 2005. All-time the 49ers are 7-4 against the Patriots.
The NFC West division could be decided in Seattle when the 49ers face their NFC West rivals on Dec. 23. The teams met in Seattle last season for a competitive Week 16 contest that saw the 49ers edge the Seahawks 19-17 thanks to fourth-quarter fumble from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. All-time, the 49ers are 13-13 against the Seahawks.
For the second time in three years, the 49ers will conclude their regular season at home against the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers are 14-8 against the Cardinals at home, including a 4-1 mark in their last five contests at Candlestick Park. All-time, the 49ers are 24-17 against the Cardinals.
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