SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers face a tough road during the 2020 season with a preseason match up against the Las Vegas Raiders, a return to New England for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and another New Orleans showdown against the Saints.
And then there is the NFC West home-and-home showdowns with Seattle, Phoenix and the Los Angeles Rams. Likely one of the toughest NFL divisions in the upcoming season.
The NFL released the 2020 pre-season and regular season on Thursday evening. The 49ers have four preseason games and 16 regular season for now. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says there is some flexibility built in if the current coronavirus outbreak forces games to be cancelled.
“In preparing to play the season as scheduled, we will continue to make our decisions based on the latest medical and public heath advice,” Goodell said in a prepared statement. “We will be prepared to make adjustments as necessary, as we have during this offseason in safely and efficiently conducting key activities such as free agency, the virtual off season program and the 2020 NFL Draft.”
The 49ers will host the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 at Levi’s Stadium, followed by back-to-back games in New York against the Jets and Giants.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) May 7, 2020
San Francisco will play five prime time games, including a Thursday night matchup in Week 9 against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The 49ers defeated Green Bay 37-20 in the NFC Championship game last season.
The 49ers will also play three Sunday night matchups.
Notable road games include a trip to New England in Week 7. It will be Garoppolo’s first game against the Patriots since they traded him to the 49ers in 2017. San Francisco also returns to New Orleans in Week 10. The 49ers beat the Saints 48-46 at the Superdome last season in one of the most exciting games of the year.
The 49ers finish the regular season against the Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. The two division rivals closed out the regular season in thrilling fashion last year. Rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw made a game-saving tackle to secure the win and gave San Francisco the number one seed in the playoffs.
As for the preseason, it remains to be seen if all four games will actually be played due to Covid-19 concerns. The 49ers are scheduled to face the Las Vegas Raiders at Levi’s Stadium in their 2nd exhibition game. The two teams have not played in recent preseasons due to security issues from an increase in fan violence.