Another year, another football season. NFL fans around the nation are getting ready for 17 weeks of regular season football. It’s time to set up the grill and fill the fridge with some cold beers.
Fans of the San Francisco 49ers are hoping that new head coach Jim Harbaugh leads the team into the playoffs for the fist time since 2002.
Between the Niners, Harbaugh and the playoffs stand 13 different opponents during their 16-week schedule.
The following five games represent rivalry, tradition, importance, and just guarantee a heck of a game.
49ers vs. Cowboys.
Do I have to say anything else? The rivalry that started in the 1970s still exists, at least in the heads of fans.
Between 1981 and 1995, both teams won a combined eight Super Bowls.
Niners’ fans will never forget Dwight Clark’s catch in the 1981 NFC Championship Game against Dallas, which started San Francisco's dynasty.
Unfortunately, the once-great rivalry has lost some of its importance due to recent struggles of both 49ers and Cowboys.
Nevertheless, this game is a must-see for every football fan.
In Week 4 the San Francisco 49ers will fly to the East Coast to square off with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The matchup against the Eagles will be the first real test of the 2011 season. The Eagles are amongst the NFL's favorites to win it all and hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy at the end of the season.
Eagles’ QB Michael Vick will expose the 49ers' defense with his passing and running capabilities and show how good Patrick Willis and Co. really are.
If the defense can control Vick and the Eagles offense, the Niners will have a good chance of breaking a five-game losing streak against Philly.
The last victory for the Red and Gold against the Eagles dates back to December 2003.
Why is the game against the Detroit Lions on this list? The answer is their defense.
The Lions defense, centered around 2010 defensive rookie of the Ndamukong Suh, causes problems for many opposing offenses.
They have the strength and the speed to put constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
New England’s QB, Tom Brady, experienced it last season during the Patriots' Thanksgiving matchup against the Lions.
"It’s a very talented group, a very talented front, especially with pass-rushing; they get after the quarterback,” Brady said. “You’re not going to stand there and hold onto [the ball] for too long.”
This means it is going to be a busy Sunday for the Niners’ offensive line and starting quarterback.
The 49ers haven’t lost against the Lions since September 1995, and they will try to keep their seven-game winning streak against Detroit alive.
This rivalry is mainly based on the seven playoff meetings between the two teams. The last one of those occurred in the 2002 NFC Wild Card round and became an instant classic.
San Francisco was trailing 38-14 midway through the third quarter before the team started an incredible comeback, led by 49ers QB Jeff Garcia and WR Terrell Owens, and rallied to 39-38 win.
This was the 49ers' last playoff win, and also the last win against the New York Giants.
After losing the last three regular season meetings, it is time to finally get a win against the team from the Big Apple. It could also be an important game for the 49ers on their way back to the playoffs.
The 49ers’ Week 15 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers promises to be a great game.
Not only will Monday Night Football be back at Candlestick Park, but it will also be interesting to see how QB Alex Smith performs against the NFL's best defense.
If the 49ers really make it into the playoffs, this game will give every Niners fan an idea how good this team really is and how deep into the playoffs they can go.
These five games are a must-see for every 49ers faithful, so let’s grab some snacks, invite your friends and get ready for some football.