San Francisco 49ers 2011 Schedule: 5 Most Important Games
The San Francisco 49ers have some important games in their 2011-12 schedule. 17 weeks and 16 games are all that stands between the Niners’ and their postseason fate.
While every week is important, some may have more impact on the team than others. Whether it’s the first game, a rival match up or a game closing up the season, San Francisco has some good competition to prepare for.
Week 1: Sunday, 9/12 @ Seattle Seahawks
The 49ers will face the same team they did for Game One of the 2010 NFL season. They took a big loss as the Seahawks defeated them 31-6. This year they will once again start off the season by going up against Seattle.
The Seahawks don’t have Matt Hasselbeck this year. They let him go and picked up Tavaris Jackson. Jackson is a definite downgrade from Hasselbeck and Seattle’s other choice Charlie Whitehurst is not any better of a selection. The Niners should also be able to hold Marshawn Lynch in check.
This game will start the momentum for the 49ers’ 2011 season. It will either swing it in San Francisco’s favor…or against it.
Week 5: Sunday, 10/9 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There’s a good chance that by this time, the Niners will have an even record. While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a formidable team, San Francisco might be able to pull this one out.
The Buccaneers are young and rapidly improving. They have a quarterback in Josh Freeman that has been performing at a higher level than Alex Smith. This could be the difference in the game, unless Smith comes back newer and improved or Colin Kaepernick comes out big this season.
The game will be in San Francisco. This should definitely help the 49ers, and if their defense shows up they’ve got a definite shot at the win.
Week 9: Sunday, 11/06 @ Washington Redskins
By this time the Niners’ bye week has passed and we’re over halfway through the season. Week 09 will bring the 49ers to Washington as they take on the Redskins.
San Francisco should win this game but it’s always difficult to assume a victory against a team led by Mike Shanahan. I’m estimating San Francisco to be at an even 4-4 split by this game. Frank Gore will be a big part of this win if he is back healthy enough to lead the charge.
Week 12: Thursday, 11/24 @ Baltimore Ravens
The 49ers will play in their first Thanksgiving Classic since 1972. This is another game that should be a tough battle.
The Niners will travel to Baltimore to battle the Ravens in the 12th week of the season. San Francisco’s defense should be able to slow down Joe Flacco and Ray Rice.
However one—if not the—deciding factor for this game will be San Francisco’s quarterback. Whether it’s Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick, they will need to be the ones to lead the 49ers to a victory.
Week 17: Sunday, 1/1 @ St. Louis Rams
The NFC West could be in for another year of mediocrity. If the results of this season are similar to 2010, when the division winner had a losing record, this final game could be the deciding factor in the standings.
The Niners will be in St. Louis, so the Rams will have home-field advantage. By this time there’s a good chance quarterback Sam Bradford will be the Rams’ leader and guide his team to victory in the season finale. However, it’s difficult to tell just how the game and its potential division title implications will turn out.