The NFL schedule was released Wednesday night, and the 49ers are back in the spotlight as they gear up for another title run in 2021.
Scheduled for the maximum number of five prime-time games in 2021, the 49ers are expected to be a premier product. The NFL seems to agree.
The 49ers prime-time opponents are as follows:
-Week 3 vs. Green Bay Packers on "Sunday Night Football" at Levi's Stadium (kickoff 5:20 p.m.)
-Week 7 vs. Indianapolis Colts on "Sunday Night Football" at Levi's Stadium (kickoff 5:20 p.m.)
-Week 10 vs. Los Angeles Rams on "Monday Night Football" at Levi's Stadium (kickoff 5:15 p.m.)
-Week 13 at Seattle Seahawks on "Sunday Night Football" at Lumen Field (kickoff 5:20 p.m.)
-Week 16 at Tennessee Titans on "Thursday Night Football" at Nissan Stadium (kickoff 5:20 p.m.)
All five of these teams made the playoffs in 2020 and should pose just as much of a threat in 2021. These five matchups arguably will be the toughest games the 49ers play all season and should prepare them for any potential playoff run.
The NFC West is expected to be one of, if not the best, divisions in the NFL this season, so it's not surprising that two of the 49ers prime-time games are against division rivals.
Seattle and San Francisco have one of the most exciting rivalries in all of football, and the history speaks for itself. The league would be doing itself a disservice if they didn't schedule a 49ers-Seahawks matchup under the lights.
The Colts are an up-and-coming team in the AFC and will feature a defensive line consisting of former 49ers star DeForest Buckner. The 49ers traded Buckner to the Colts prior to the 2020 season in exchange for a first-round pick that resulted in the selection of current defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw.
On their way to the Super Bowl in 2019, the 49ers humiliated the Packers in the NFC Championship. Whether or not future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers is on the team this season, Green Bay will still be looking to even the score in Week 3.
A loss to the Packers could hurt the 49ers' playoff seeding later in the season, as the Packers are expected to be among one of the league's best fighting for one of the top seeds.
If the 49ers are able to stay healthy this season, they should be one of the most exciting teams in the league. The real question is, who will start these prime-time games? Jimmy Garoppolo or rookie Trey Lance?