Prime-time spotlight shines on 49ers as schedule reveals six night games

SANTA CLARA – Six prime-time kickoffs are strewn across the 49ers’ schedule, dawning with a Sept. 9 opener against the New York Jets, then saving the NFC Championship Game rematch with the Detroit Lions for Dec. 30.

Both of those games are on “Monday Night Football” at Levi’s Stadium, where a bit of a dark cloud hovers over those bright lights.

The 49ers lost both of their Monday night games last season – at Minnesota in Week 7, and against Baltimore on Christmas. That dropped the 49ers to 4-6 on Mondays since 2017 under coach Kyle Shanahan. Mind you, last season’s Super Bowl-bound 49ers did win their three other prime-time games: The home opener against the Giants, Week 5 against the Cowboys, and Thanksgiving night at the Seahawks.

The Lions’ Monday night visit comes in the regular season’s penultimate week, so NFC playoff seeding could be on the line if both franchises follow last season’s path to the top two seeds.

Between prime-time affairs at Seattle (Thursday, Oct. 10) and against Dallas (Sunday, Oct. 27) is a Super Bowl LVIII rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs at Levi’s Stadium on Oct. 20 at 1:25 p.m. Also in prime time is the 49ers’ Sunday, Dec. 1 visit to Buffalo, and a Thursday, Dec. 12 home game against the Rams.

The 49ers even have a preseason game in prime time, the only one they’re hosting: Aug. 18 against the New Orleans Saints (5 p.m.). Bracketing that are exhibitions at the Tennessee Titans and the Las Vegas Raiders.

The 49ers have not maxed out at six prime-time games since 2019, when they originally were slated for three, then were flexed into three more en route to the NFC’s No. 1 seed and a Super Bowl berth. Overall, the Shanahan-coached 49ers are 15-13 in prime-time kickoffs: 0-1 in 2017, 1-2 in 2018, 5-1 in 2019, 1-3 in 2020, 1-3 in 2021, 4-1 in 2022, and 3-2 last season.

Flex scheduling could change kickoff times, and the 49ers last got bumped from prime time before a December 2021 win at Seattle and a December 2020 loss at Dallas.

Here is the 49ers’ regular-season schedule:

WEEK 1: Monday, Sept. 9

vs. New York Jets (5:15 pm, ESPN)

It’s Year 20 of the 49ers Didn’t Draft Aaron Rodgers storyline. For a second straight year, the Jets debut on “Monday Night Football,” presumably with Rodgers, who tore his Achilles four snaps into his Jets debut last year.

WEEK 2: Sunday, Sept. 15

at Minnesota Vikings (10 am, CBS)

Instead of going to London for the first time since 2013, the 49ers will visit Minneapolis for the second straight year (third if you count the 2021 preseason). A pro tip for a first-year defensive coordinator: Don’t call an all-out blitz on third-and-6 from the Vikings’ 40-yard line just before halftime.

WEEK 3: Sunday, Sept. 22

at Los Angeles Rams (1:25 pm, Fox)

The 49ers have won five straight regular-season visits to Levi’s South. If Matthew Stafford goes down with an injury by this game, then Jimmy Garoppolo could face …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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