49ers 2021 NFL schedule released, home stretch is tough

The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

The 49ers’ 2021 NFL schedule is officially out of the box, and it just so happens to see a pretty tough finish to the 17-game regular season.

San Francisco 49ers fans have already known for some time which teams the Niners will face in 2021, which now includes a first-ever 17th game, this year on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The added week is the one odd wrinkle new to the league. But considering the weirdness stemming from last year’s pandemic-affected season, which included the 49ers being ousted from Levi’s Stadium for their last three home games of 2020, it’s safe to say the upcoming 2021 campaign will have some sense of normalcy.

There were plenty of leaks, rumors and substantiated reports leading up to the NFL’s official schedule announcement on Wednesday, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET. Yet with that in the rearview mirror, we can finally know how to plan our calendars accordingly for the upcoming season.

San Francisco’s 2021 NFL schedule is as follows:

  • Week 1: @ Lions on Sunday, Sep. 12 at 1 p.m. ET
  • Week 2: @ Eagles on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m. ET
  • Week 3: vs. Packers on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 8:20 p.m. ET*
  • Week 4: vs. Seahawks on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Week 5: @ Cardinals on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Week 6: BYE
  • Week 7: vs. Colts on Sunday, Oct. 24 at 8:20 p.m. ET*
  • Week 8 @ Bears on Sunday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. ET
  • Week 9: vs. Cardinals on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Week 10: vs. Rams on Monday, Nov. 15 at 8:15 p.m. ET*
  • Week 11: @ Jaguars on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. ET
  • Week 12: vs. Vikings on Sunday, Nov. 28 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Week 13: @ Seahawks on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 8:20 p.m. ET*
  • Week 14: @ Bengals on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. ET
  • Week 15: vs. Falcons on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Week 16: @ Titans on Thursday, Dec. 23 at 8:20 p.m. ET*
  • Week 17: vs. Texans on Sunday, Jan. 2 at 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Week 18: @ Rams on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 4:25 p.m. ET

* denotes prime-time game

Five prime-time games are pretty good for a team coming off a six-win season the year before. But the schedule and network planners surely understood the 2020 squad was riddled with more injuries than any other team out there, and the bulk of those players are back in what should be a playoff-caliber roster.

To reach that lofty goal, though, the 49ers will have to finish strong. It won’t be easy.

49ers will have a challenging finish to their 2021 NFL schedule

The last six weeks of the regular season aren’t necessarily going to be easy for the Niners.

Fans may recall that magical Week 17 finale between San Francisco and the Seattle Seahawks, which saw linebacker Dre Greenlaw’s heroic goal-line stand in the waning minutes, ensuring the 49ers victory and top seed in the NFC heading into the postseason.

But remember, that 2019 win was the first time the Niners won up in Seattle since 2011. Simply put, wins at Lumen Field can be tough to come by.

A short-week road bout on Thursday Night Football against the up-and-coming Tennessee Titans won’t be a fun matchup either, particularly considering the long travel to the East Coast. It would be one thing if the short week featured another NFC West bout or at least something within the same time zone.

It doesn’t, though.

San Francisco has enjoyed its success against the Los Angeles Rams as of late. But with the Rams boasting a new quarterback, Matthew Stafford, the regular-season finale in Week 18 could be an entirely different show.

At least the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals figure to be little more than rebuilding squads at this point, but 49ers fans will remember that Falcons trap game late in 2019 that went for a Niners loss.

Perhaps one featuring rookie quarterback Trey Lance, not veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, by that point. That’ll be a decision ultimately up to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

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