5 most intriguing matchups for the 49ers 2023 regular season

May 12, 2023, 12:30 PM | Updated: 1:33 pm

T.Y. McGill #96 and Arik Armstead #91 of the San Francisco 49ers make a tackle during the NFC Champ...

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 29: T.Y. McGill #96 and Arik Armstead #91 of the San Francisco 49ers make a tackle during the NFC Championship playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 29, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the 49ers 31-7. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers’ 2023 regular season schedule is finally here, and it’s stuffed with exciting games.

The Red & Gold will have five primetime games in 2023, including one on Thanksgiving and Christmas. San Francisco will also be featured on Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football, throughout the regular season. However, the 49ers will also be traveling a lot next season, the second-most of any team in the NFL.

With that being said, here are the five matchups to mark on your calendar as a “must-watch.”

1. 49ers at Eagles

Week 13

Channel, Time: FOX, 1:25 p.m. PST

This is one of the games of the year, no question about it.

After last season’s thumping in the NFC Championship game, the 49ers have been dying to play the Eagles in 2023. And with months of back-and-forth chirping between the two sides, the Red & Gold have got their wish.

It’ll be a tough task once again, heading to Lincoln Financial Field Week 13, especially after playing the Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving the week prior. The good news: San Francisco will have 10 days of rest between Weeks 12 and 13.

Regardless of the schedule, this game has the potential to be a playoff preview. Both teams want to make another deep postseason run, and both would like nothing more than to stick it to the opposition. New wrinkles for this game include defensive tackle Javon Hargrave switching sides to the 49ers, and quarterback Brock Purdy (potentially) being healthy for a rematch of the NFCCG.

This game has all the potential of being flexed into the primetime spot come December, adding even more excitement to the matchup.

2. Ravens at 49ers

Week 16 MNF on Christmas

Channel, Time: ESPN, 5:15 p.m. PST

The 49ers are the lone team in 2023 to have games on both Thanksgiving AND Christmas. Not only that, both contests are scheduled for the night slot, making them the premier matchup over the holidays.

The Christmas game is the better of the two with QB Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens traveling to the Bay to play the Red & Gold.

Everyone knows the history of these two franchises meeting one another, the famous power outage in Super Bowl XLVII comes to mind. A lot has changed since then, but some of the principles are still in place. John Harbaugh is still running the show, the Ravens and Niners both rely on rushing attacks, and both teams still don’t like each other.

With that being said, this is an incredible clash for two playoff contenders in a primetime slot. Giving football fans a clash this good on Christmas could be the nail in the coffin for the NFL’s takeover of the merry holiday.

3. Cowboys at 49ers

Week 5 SNF

Channel, Time: NBC, 5:20 p.m. PST

What’s a 49ers schedule without at least one clash with “America’s Team”?

This year, the Cowboys will be heading back to Santa Clara for a primetime matchup with the 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Dallas has played San Francisco in the last two NFC playoffs,  losing both games to the 49ers. Last season, the Red & Gold mounted a 19-12 comeback in the divisional round to send the Boys in Blue packing.

Not much has changed only a few months later, except that running back Ezekiel Elliot won’t be taking the last snap of the game this time.

Regardless, one of the best rivalries in America gets reignited under the bright lights of NBC. It doesn’t get much better than that.

4. 49ers at Seahawks

Week 12 TNF on Thanksgiving

Channel, Time: NBC, 5:20 p.m. PST

Feeling stuffed from all that turkey? Well make some room and mark your calendars for the 49ers and Seahawks to close out the night.

Every game between these bitter rivals is always close, but what makes this clash more fun is its’ potential to decide the NFC West. The Seahawks were nipping at the 49ers’ heels towards the end of last season, thanks to the rejuvenation of journeyman QB Geno Smith. And while the Red & Gold shut them down in 2022, things can change nine months in the future.

Playing in Seattle is always hard, with the Seahawks owning one of the best crowds in the NFL. And then we don’t know who will be the starting quarterback for San Francisco at that time. If Trey Lance or Sam Darnold start out hot with Purdy on the mend, could we see one of those two playing in Seattle? Possibly.

A lot of speculation will go into the QB carousel for the 49ers this offseason. For the time being, however, just be happy to see such a tasty matchup on the Thanksgiving slate.

5. Bengals at 49ers

Week 8

Channel, Time: CBS, 1:25 p.m. PST

The 49ers have their Bye Week in Week 9, once again, next season. But before they get to it, they’ll have a tough battle with Joe Burrow and the Bengals.

Playing the AFC North in 2023, the Red & Gold will see three of four opponents before the bye. That could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you view that division. I choose the former, able to face tough opposition early, before reconvening in Week 10 at Jacksonville.

The 49ers will have to earn that Bye Week though, as the Bengals are no slouch these days. Equipped with a franchise QB and wide receiver (Ja’Marr Chase), Cincinnati has been a regular opponent in postseason play for a few years now. After falling short in the Super Bowl and AFC Championship the last two years, Burrow and WhoDey Nation are hungry to bring a world championship to Ohio.

That could be a factor when the 49ers see them at Levi’s Stadium, especially coming off a tough road slate with Cleveland and Minnesota back-to-back.

Click here to view the NFL’s full schedule release for the 2023 season.

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