49ERS 2015 REGULAR-SEASON SCHEDULE
Week 1: Monday, Sept. 14, vs. Minnesota, 7:20
One of the highlights of these matchups in the past was Patrick Willis vs. Adrian Peterson. But Willis retired this offseason, and Peterson apparently wants out of the Vikings organization. Eric Mangini’s defense will be tested as he plays chess against Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20, at Pittsburgh, 10 a.m.
This game will certainly hold a lot of significance to 49ers coach Jim Tomsula, a Pittsburgh native who was a Steelers fan during the franchise’s six-season run from the 1974 to ’79 seasons that included four Super Bowls.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, at Arizona, 1:05 p.m.
Defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, one of the faces of the Cardinals for his 10-year career, returns to the only NFL home he knew before getting released and landing with the 49ers. Will he stir it up against his former team the way he used to get under the skins of the 49ers?
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4, vs. Green Bay, 1:25 p.m.
The teams did not meet last season, but the 49ers have had their way in the recent series. Under Harbaugh, the 49ers defeated the Packers four consecutive times, including playoff victories in San Francisco and Green Bay. Colin Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns in his first playoff game on Jan. 12, 2013.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, at NY Giants, 5:30 p.m.
Because the 49ers and Giants finished in the same spot (third place) in their divisional standings, the schedule works out that the 49ers return to the Meadowlands in New Jersey for a second consecutive season. A year ago, Chris Borland was the star in a 16-10 victory as he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18, vs. Baltimore, 1:25 p.m.
There will be no Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh storyline this time around. But you can be sure there will be an interested party in Ann Arbor watching while wearing purple. The 49ers’ hopes for a victory hinge on a couple of wide receivers -- Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith -- who played for the Ravens in their Super Bowl XLVII victory over the 49ers.
Week 7: Thursday, Oct. 22, vs. Seattle, 5:25 p.m.
Pete Carroll never won a game at Candlestick Park, but he and his team feasted on the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium last season in a 19-3 victory on Thanksgiving Night. That game concluded with CEO Jed York’s apology to the fans and the ultimate removal of Jim Harbaugh as head coach.
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1, at St. Louis, 10 a.m.
The Rams will look to get over the hump in the NFC West with a new quarterback. Oft-injured Sam Bradford was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in the offseason. Nick Foles, acquired in the deal, is slated to lead the offense. The 49ers picked off Foles twice last season in the 49ers’ 26-21 win over the Eagles in Week 4.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8, vs. Atlanta, 1:05 p.m.
Dan Quinn entered the NFL as an entry level coach on Steve Mariucci’s staff with the 49ers in 2011. After rising to Seattle’s defensive coordinator the past two seasons, Quinn is the first-year head coach of the Falcons.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15, BYE
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22, at Seattle, 1:25 p.m.
The rivalry took a hit with Jim Harbaugh no longer being an employee of the 49ers. It’s doubtful a large number of Seahawks’ fans even know Jim Tomsula’s name at this point. And Richard Sherman has to find someone other than Michael Crabtree to kick around. Still, don’t expect a drop in decibel levels.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29, vs. Arizona 1:05 p.m.
The 49ers were bracing for the loss of guard Mike Iupati, as it was clear they were not willing to pay as much for his services as some other team. That other team, it turns out, was Arizona. One key to the 49ers’ season is the kind of production they get out of Iupati’s replacement.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6, at Chicago, 10 a.m.
The 49ers will definitely get the best game plans that Adam Gase and Vic Fangio can put together for this one. Gase and Fangio both interviewed for the 49ers’ head-coaching job that went to Jim Tomsula. Gase got a second interview and all signs pointed to him getting the job. He would have kept Fangio as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator. The 49ers went with Tomsula, then could not convince Gase to come to the organization as offensive coordinator.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, at Cleveland, 10 a.m.
The 49ers asked for back-to-back East Coast games, so they could cut out one trip and remain in Youngstown, Ohio. This would be the back end of that trip. If you don’t remember the last time the 49ers played in Cleveland, don’t feel bad. Probably about the only person who remembers that game is new Rams quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke. He signed late in the season with the 49ers and make his final NFL start in the season finale of 2007. He threw for 104 yards in the 49ers’ 20-7 loss. The 49ers have not won in Cleveland since 1984, which sounds a lot worse than it really is. The 49ers have lost just two games in a row in Cleveland.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20, Vs. Cincinnati, 5:30 p.m.
Colin Kaepernick is always looking for motivation. And he is bound to carry a chip on his shoulder for this game. After all, the Bengals selected quarterback Andy Dalton with the 35th overall pick in 2011. The 49ers traded up to select Kaepernick at No. 36. Dalton has started every game since coming to the Bengals, but he has yet to secure a playoff victory.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, at Detroit, 10 a.m.
Don’t expect the kind of fireworks that were witnessed after the last time two head coaches named Jim met at midfield for the postgame handshake. Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz, and their high-strung personalities, are no longer around. Regardless of the outcome, things should be a lot more civil with Jim Tomsula and Jim Caldwell.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, vs. St. Louis, 1:25 p.m.
Nothing will come easy this season, just everything was difficult a year ago. Where did the 49ers’ season turn in 2014? The answer is Colin Kaepernick’s fumble at the goal line late in the fourth quarter that provided the Rams with a 13-10 victory at Levi’s Stadium.