- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Some thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers schedule release:
The 49ers expect inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman to return from the torn ACL he suffered in the NFC title game at Seattle about midseason. That means he should be a factor in both games against Seattle. The 49ers play Seattle in Weeks 13 and 15.
The league was considering having the Seahawks open the NFL slate Sept. 4 against the 49ers or the Packers. In the end, it went with Green Bay. But this Thanksgiving night tilt gives the NFL’s best rivalry its due spotlight.
The first game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara will be a Week 2 prime-time game against Chicago. Not a marquee matchup, but the first game in the post-Candlestick era is big enough. The 49ers will be the 14th team since 2000 to open a stadium. They will be the fifth not to get a home date in Week 1.
The 49ers have a rare Saturday game. It will be Week 16 at home against San Diego. It could be the team’s fifth prime time game, although no time has been set. It will either be 1:30 p.m. or 5:15 p.m. PT.
The 49ers will essentially have two late byes. Their bye is in Week 8 and then they will have the weekend off after the Week 12 Thanksgiving night game against the Seahawks.
Former 49ers’ quarterback Alex Smith and the Chiefs will visit in Week 5.