Week 1 versus Los Angeles Rams
Monday, September 12 at 10:20 p.m. ET
The 49ers open up their 2016 regular-season schedule with a prime-time bout against their NFC West division rival, the Los Angeles Rams.
Oh, and the Niners get to kick off a season on Monday Night Football for the second year in a row.
Fans will get to see what a meaningful offense from head coach Chip Kelly is all about, and they’ll also have the majority of questions answered as to who the 49ers preferred under center — Colin Kaepernick or Blaine Gabbert.
Either quarterback will have to face off against a Rams team that had the 13th best defense a year ago.
But, of course, the major Rams focus will be on rookie quarterback, and Bay Area native, Jared Goff — the No. 1 overall pick from the 2016 NFL Draft.
Goff gets the hype but, according to NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, the rookie QB might not be ready to play in Week 1.
Why the 49ers Win
Home-field advantage is a boost, although the Niners haven’t exactly taken advantage of it at Levi’s Stadium. But Los Angeles’ quarterbacking concerns are real at this point. And how much faith should one have in a head coach Jeff Fisher-led squad?
This will be a good bout for San Francisco’s defense, especially as this unit looks to clamp down on star running back Todd Gurley. Here’s the chance to answer some questions about the Niners’ run defense.
Los Angeles gave up a good deal of yards through the air last season (4,065), so this might be a great opportunity for whichever 49ers quarterback to work on the passing game.
Why the 49ers Lose
Stopping the run was more than just a little problematic for San Francisco last year — 29th in the league with 2,020 yards allowed — so Gurley could be in line for a very big evening.
Running the ball is a key factor in offsetting an uptempo Kelly offense. So expect this to be a major part of the Rams’ game plan, especially if there are quarterbacking concerns on the table.
Oh, and Los Angeles’ defense still has defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He’s pretty good, the last time we checked.
If the Rams win, it will be because of their defensive front seven and ability to move the ball, offensively, on the ground against a questionable Niners run defense.
Next: Week 2 at Carolina Panthers