The 49ers had four prime-time games last season when they were everybody's darlings to win the NFC West. This season? Well, if the schedule is any indication, the expectations are much lower. The 49ers have only one prime-time game, a Monday night matchip with the Cardinals in Arizona. Last year's game in Glendale, of course, was the most entertaining of the year for the 49ers and included Patrick Willis running down Sean Morey to save a touchdown and Tully Banta-Cain falling on a loose ball in the end zone in overtime.
Remember last year at this time when the second half of the 49ers' schedule looked like it would be a cinch? This year, five out of the team's last eight games are on the road, and the home finale is against Washington, a playoff team in 2007. So the first half of the sked must be easy, right? Well, they play the Seahawks -- a team that thrashed them last season -- twice and also each of the Super Bowl contenders.
On a purely selfish note ... Nov. 30 in Buffalo? Are you freakin' kidding me? Roger Goodell obviously didn't get my strongly worded e-mail about not wanting to visit upper New York State past Sept. 15. I might have to cut open a ton-ton to survive. Of course, I'll probably be able to thaw out in Miami two weeks later ...
Sept. 7 Arizona Cardinals 1:15PM FOX
Sept. 14 @ Seattle Seahawks 1:05PM FOX
Sept. 21 Detroit Lions 1:05PM FOX
Sept. 28 @ New Orleans Saints 12:00PM 10AM FOX
Oct. 5 New England Patriots 1:15PM CBS
Oct. 12 Philadelphia Eagles 1:15PM FOX
Oct. 19 @ New York Giants 1:00PM 10AM FOX
Oct. 26 Seattle Seahawks 1:15PM FOX
Nov. 2 BYE
Nov. 10 @ Arizona Cardinals 6:30PM 5:30PM ESPN
Nov. 16 St. Louis Rams 1:05PM # FOX
Nov. 23 @ Dallas Cowboys 12:00PM # 10AM FOX
Nov. 30 @ Buffalo Bills 1:00PM # 10AM FOX
Dec. 7 New York Jets 1:05PM # CBS
Dec. 14 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00PM # 10AM FOX
Dec. 21 @ St. Louis Rams 12:00PM # 10AM FOX
Dec. 28 Washington Redskins 1:15PM # FOX
The 49ers also announced that they have hired Dave Fipp as their assistant special teams coach. Fipp spent the last three years with San Jose State. He was the Spartans' defensive coordinator last season and co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the Spartans the previous two seasons. Fipp replaces Jeff Rodgers, who is now with Kansas State.
-- Matt Barrows