Sept. 9 at Green Bay (1:15 p.m. Fox) 2011 record: 15-1
Prepare yourself for an onslaught of Aaron Rodgers vs. Alex Smith and Randy Moss vs. Green Bay fans stories. The 49ers will take on a team that won 15 regular-season games in 2011, finished third in total offense but fell flat in the playoffs against the Giants. The 49ers haven't beaten Green Bay since the 1998 Wild Card game. They've lost all eight games since by an average score of 26-16.
Sept. 16 vs. Detroit (5:20 p.m. NBC) 10-6
Jim Harbaugh got more than a few "handshake" questions during his media session at the scouting combine. They're not going to go away with Jim Schwartz coming to town. Right tackle Anthony Davis and Lions defensive end Cliff Avril also traded some choice words on Twitter after last year's game. This one should be, ahem, caliente.
Sept. 23 at Minnesota (10 a.m. Fox) 3-13
Most 49ers have a hard time forgetting what happened the last time their team was in Minnesota. Brett Favre threw a last-second touchdown pass to Greg Lewis to win the game 27-24. "I don't want to see you looking at the floor!," Mike Singletary bellowed to his players minutes after the loss. "You didn't steal nothing! You didn't do anything wrong! We will see them again! In the playoffs!" Actually, this is the first time the Vikings and 49ers have faced each other since. The good news for the 49ers: Singletary is with the Vikings now but Favre is not.
Sept. 30 at New York Jets (10 a.m. Fox) 8-8
The most dysfunctional locker room in the league late last season played it cool this offseason .... by trading for Tim Tebow. Story lines promise to abound. Will the 49ers stay in Youngstown, Ohio between the game in Minneapolis and this one?
Oct. 7 vs. Buffalo (1:15 p.m. CBS) 6-10
The Bills made one of the biggest free-agency splashes by adding defensive end Mario Williams to a defense that finished 26th last year. The last time the Bills visited, in 2004, they won 41-7. This promises to be their last game at the 'Stick. A tear?
Oct. 14 vs. New York Giants (1:15 p.m. Fox) 9-7
This could be the best game of the season. The 49ers and Giants are evenly matched and they meet for the third time in a year. Did the Giants target Kyle Williams in the NFC Championship because they knew he had previous concussions? Will the 49ers be avenging that still-painful loss? The fact that San Francisco has added two ex-Giants, including one, Brandon Jacobs, who wasn't always happy with his former team, only adds to the drama.
Oct. 18 vs. Seattle (5:20 p.m. NFN) 7-9
The NFC West isn't nearly as bad as its reputation. The Seahawks won five of their last eight games last year and have a new quarterback, Matt Flynn, who's been studying under Aaron Rodgers the last three years. This game is on Thursday night.
Oct. 29 at Arizona (5:30 p.m ESPN) 8-8
Adam Snyder, the 49ers' starting right guard in 2011, is now part of a Cardinals offensive line that has been among the league's worst for several years now. The Cardinals won seven of their last nine games last year. The 49ers will have 11 days between this game and the previous one.
Nov. 11 vs. St. Louis (1:15 p.m. Fox) 2-14
The 49ers swept the Rams last season, but the second meeting - the season finale in St. Louis - was no cake walk. The 49ers did not face quarterback Sam Bradford at all last year.
Nov. 19 vs. Chicago (5:30 p.m. ESPN) 8-8
The last time Jay Cutler visited Candlestick Park, he threw five - count 'em, FIVE! -- interceptions during a 10-6 loss on national television. ... Blake Costanzo, a 49ers fan favorite last year, now plays for the Bears. No word on whether the "Tony Montana" theme song will follow him to Chicago.
Nov. 25 at New Orleans (1:15 p.m. Fox) 13-3
If you take a sip of your Hurricane every time the announcers say "bounty," you may be dead by halftime. The Saints were caught red-handed talking about injuring specific body parts of specific 49ers before their playoff game in January. Lo and behold - they play those same 49ers this year. Gregg Williams is gone. Sean Payton is suspended, and several players could be suspended, too. But don't underestimate New Orleans. The bounty case also could serve to galvanize that team in an its-us-against-everyone-else kind of way.
Dec. 2 at St. Louis (10 a.m. Fox) 2-14
The Rams have a new coach in Jeff Fisher and a haul of draft picks after they traded the No. 2 selection to the Redskins. The 49ers could be facing a new wide receiver, Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, or perhaps a replacement for Steven Jackson in Alabama's Trent Richardson.
Dec. 9 vs. Miami (1:05 CBS) 6-10
Last month, Alex Smith made the only free-agent visit of his career to the Dolphins. (Spoiler: He didn't sign with them). Who will be throwing passes for the recently woebegone Dolphins? It could be Matt Moore (1-0 vs. San Francisco), David Garrard or perhaps rookie Ryan Tannehill. Barring an unforeseen event (like NFL realignment), this will be the last time the Dolphins play in Candlestick Park.
Dec. 16 at New England (5:20 p.m. NBC) 13-3
Only one NFL flight is longer for the 49ers - to Miami. The last trip to Foxboro came in the 2004 finale. The 49ers lost 21-7 and Dennis Erickson was fired the next day. ... The 49ers thought they would have beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl if they had just made it past New York. They get to put their money where their mouth is.
Dec. 23 at Seattle (1:15 Fox) 7-9
The 49ers swept the Seahawks last year, but neither game was easy. San Francisco needed two touchdown returns from Ted Ginn to pull away in the opener at Candlestick Park. The team needed a forced fumble by Larry Grant to seal the victory on Christmas Eve in Seattle.
Dec. 30 vs. Arizona (1:15 Fox) 8-8
The Cardinals were one of three teams to beat the 49ers during the regular season last year, and they essentially did it with three big plays. Presumed starting quarterback Kevin Kolb has yet to play a full game against the 49ers.
-- Matt Barrows