Must-Watch Games, Matchups and Storylines from 49ers' 2013 Schedule

Joseph AkeleyAnalyst IApril 23, 2013

Must-Watch Games, Matchups and Storylines from 49ers' 2013 Schedule

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    Five prime-time games, two playoff rematches and possibly the most competitive division rivalry in the NFL.

    That's what San Francisco 49ers fans will have to look forward to when the 2013 season kicks off in early September. 

    The following slides highlight the most intriguing aspects of San Francisco's schedule. 

Third NFL Season of Harbaugh vs. Carroll

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    The top storyline of the NFC West is the rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks

    The storyline within that storyline is the Jim Harbaugh vs. Pete Carroll rivalry. 

    Harbaugh is 3-1 against Carroll in the NFL, and of course, the Niners have won the last two NFC West titles.

    To add more talent to the fire, Seattle traded for Percy Harvin and San Francisco traded for Anquan Boldin. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are looking to avoid a regression in their second years as starters.

    Most importantly, the divisional rivals are being dubbed as two of the best teams in the NFL.

    It'll be interesting to see how Kaepernick plays in his second start at CenturyLink Field in Week 2 on Sunday Night Football. His first start was arguably his worst as a pro, as the Seahawks destroyed the Niners 42-13. 

    The Week 14 matchup should have major division title implications. 

Is Luck or RGIII Better? Niners Might Get Firsthand Look at Both

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    Assuming Robert Griffin III is healthy enough to play by Week 12, the 49ers should face the first two picks of the 2012 draft in the 2013 season. 

    It seems that football followers are torn when debating whether Andrew Luck or RGIII is the better player.

    Griffin took home Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, but Luck led his team to more wins.

    When Luck comes to Candlestick Park in Week 3, it will be the first time he's been on the opposite sideline of Jim Harbaugh, his head coach at Stanford.  

Will Goldson Get Revenge?

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    You better believe that Dashon Goldson will be jacked up when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the 49ers in Week 15. 

    Goldson and the 49ers had plenty of time to negotiate a lengthy extension, but the Niners clearly had their doubts (and Goldson and his agent clearly wanted a lot of money). The six-year veteran is a fearless hitter, but he's never had elite ball skills. 

    Shortly after Goldson became an unrestricted free agent, he signed a five-year, $41.25 million contract with Tampa Bay. 

    It's not likely Goldson needs anymore adrenaline for bone-crushing hits. He frequently knocked opposing players out of games as a Niner.

    There could be a massive collision if Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin or Michael Crabtree go over the middle with Goldson lurking. 

Week 1 Playoff Rematch

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    By the time the Green Bay Packers take the field to open their season at Candlestick Park, they're going to be sick and tired of answering questions about stopping Colin Kaepernick.

    The ex-Nevada star had 263 passing yards, 181 rushing yards and four total touchdowns in San Francisco's 45-31 rout of the Cheeseheads in the playoffs. 

    San Francisco did a decent job against Aaron Rodgers last year, holding him under seven yards per attempt in both meetings. 

    But this will be the Red and Gold's first game without Dashon Goldson patrolling center field.

    Will the Niners' new-look secondary be able to slow Rodgers and Green Bay's prolific passing attack?

NFC Title Game Rematch

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    Not only is it a rematch of one of the best games of the season last year, but it's the last game in Candlestick Park history. 

    Emotions will be high as the 49ers take on the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16. It wouldn't be surprising if important playoff positioning will be on the line. 

    Matt Ryan vs. Colin Kaepernick. Roddy White and Julio Jones vs. Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. Tony Gonzalez vs. Vernon Davis. Expect there to be some fireworks when these two offensive juggernauts battle it out on Monday Night Football.