We know that the San Francisco 49ers will not host a Monday Night football game for the upcoming 2014 season due to traffic concerns.
We also know the teams that the 49ers will play in 2014. They are as follows:
Arizona, St. Louis, Seattle, Kansas City, San Diego, Philadelphia, Washington, and Chicago
Arizona, St. Louis, Seattle, Denver, Oakland, Dallas, NY Giants, and New Orleans
A number of factors will go into my overall predication.
One of those factors is based on the success of the 2013 49ers squad and their scheduled opponents in 2014, especially their road opponent due to their unique circumstance of not being able to host a MNF game.
With that here is my listed prediction on the number of primetime games in no particular order (with the exception of the first two games).
According to CSNBayarea.com writer Matt Maiocco, the 49ers first game at Levis Stadium will be a primetime game on NBC. History has also told us, that the 49ers will play either St. Louis or Arizona on primetime as they’ve done in six of the last seven seasons. Because they lose out on a MNF game, and because of the success of Arizona in 2013, I will predict that the home opener will be a Sunday Night game against the Cardinals.
Which leads us to primetime road games for the Niners.
The best rivalry in football without question, is the Seattle Seahawks vs. the San Francisco 49ers. Last year’s NFC Title game drew an estimated 55.9 million viewers, almost four million more than the Brady-Manning matchup earlier in the day. Last season’s 49ers-Atlanta Falcons title game drew 42.0 million viewers.
The NFL loves anticipation, which in turn equals ratings. I see no other way possible than for the NFL to give fans the best rivalry in the league by kicking off the season on Thursday Night primetime in raucous Seattle as the Seahawks drop the Championship banner, then kickoff against the 49ers. It only makes sense, and it’s what the people want.
The third primetime game that makes the most sense is a MNF game that was 6-inches away from being last year’s Super Bowl matchup, Denver vs. San Francisco. Peyton Manning vs. Colin Kaepernick; it’s a matchup that nobody can complain about. The storylines for this game screams “primetime” as this is a possible preview of Super Bowl XLIX.
The fourth game that is being rumored is a 49ers Thanksgiving Night game. Because the 49ers cannot host a home game during the week, the most logical opponent would be the Oakland Raiders. It’s a West Coast game which gives fans in the East Cost the enjoyment of staying up to midnight to watch football.
The NFL might be hoping that because it is Thanksgiving Night, maybe the violence that broke out during a preseason game between Raider and 49er fans back in 2011 might be curtailed.
The fifth and final primetime game I predict for the 49ers also happens to be a rematch of one of the most controversial games of the 2013 season. The matchup would also take place back at the scene of the crime. All 49er fans know exactly what I’m talking about, yep, the infamous personal foul to the “head/neck” area that cost the 49ers the football game. In the end, this one single controversial call also ended up costing the 49ers the NFC West and home field throughout the playoffs.
Imagine the build up, the story lines, the controversy re-sparked, and the overall buzz prior to opening kickoff between the 49ers and New Orleans Saints. It’s the kind of buzz the NFL lives for.
With that, my final prediction on the over/under number of prime time games for the 49ers in 2014 is five. A pair of Thursday Night games including the season opener and Thanksgiving finale; a pair of Sunday Night games (opener vs. Arizona and at New Orleans), and a Monday Night game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
The NFL schedule releases Wednesday at 8pm EST. Enjoy the unofficial NFL holiday and lets see how we did in our predictions.
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