Week 13: Sunday, December 3 at Philadelphia, 4:25 PM ET/1:25 PM PT
This is the game that 49ers fans have had circled on the calendar since the schedule was announced this Spring.
It's a rematch of the NFC Championship Game that never really got started because of the injury to 49ers' quarterback Brock Purdy. It's the two teams that most experts expect to return to that game again this season, with this regular season contest having a lot to say about where the game was held.
As of this writing, the Eagles sit at 7-1 while the 49ers are 5-3, but Philadelphia has itself a bit of a guantlet as it heads into this early December matchup, with a home game against the Cowboys, their bye, a road test against the Chiefs, and hosting Buffalo in the four weeks in November.
Needless to say, 49ers fans will be rooting for Kansas City and Buffalo, since rooting for the Cowboys is both icky and, in this case, a little counterproductive.
A 1-2 record in those games combined with the predictions here so far means the Eagles would come in with an 8-3 record, a game up on the Niners' prognosticated 7-4.
So yeah, this one would still be huge.
Philadelphia's defense isn't quite the juggurnaut it was in 2023 en route to the Super Bowl and while they added safety Kevin Byard from the Titans before the trade deadline, the 49ers will look to exploit the trouble that Philly has had in stopping the pass, likely with a quick passing game they've seen used against them in recent weeks.
This game will be a nailbitter and probably not a particularly fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but I have a feeling the 49ers, who have been waiting for the opportunity to show that the NFC Championship game was an injury-fueled fluke, will show up for this one in a big way.
Outcome: 49ers win, but it won't be fun or pretty, to tie the Eagles at 8-4.
Week 14: Sunday, December 10 vs Seattle, 4:05 PM ET/1:05 PM PT
Although the Eagles game may feel like it matters the most, if Seattle continues to play well and holds serve in the NFC West, winning in Philadelphia won't be enough if they can't beat the Seahawks at home the following week.
Back when the schedule was released, I predicted a split against Seattle with the 49ers losing on the road and winning at home (I also thought they'd start 9-0, something I doubled down on a few weeks ago and lose to the Eagles, so take that for what it's worth).
But because it matters so much in this predicted future, I'll hold to my split, a win that likely keeps the 49ers close in the division or could even give them the lead depending on how Seattle plays in their other games.
Outcome: 49ers win with a little breathing room to get to 9-4.
Week 15: Sunday, December 17 at Arizona, 4:05 PM ET/1:05 PM PT
This one has trap game written all over it considering how massive the run of the previous three weeks will have been for the 49ers.
But while it is technically a road game, it is both a short trip and a game that Niners fans should travel extremely well to, a fact that should give the 49ers the edge even if Kyler Murray is back from his ACL injury and playing by then.
The Cardinals may be playing better than their 1-7 record suggests at this point, but this is still a team that is among the league's worst on both sides of the ball, and even if Murray returns, he can't fix the whole team.
Just like their Week 4 matchup, the game may be closer than you'd want for a while, but the 49ers should eventually pull out a solid win.
Outcome: 49ers get to double digit wins with a thumping in the desert to get to 10-4.