San Francisco 49ers Most Difficult Games In 2016

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During July, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be analyzing the schedules of every team in the NFL and ranking each game in order of difficulty (with one being the most difficult).  This series will be split up into the eight most difficult games (ranked 1-8) and the eight easiest games (ranked 9-16) for each team.  In this article, the San Francisco 49ers most difficult games are the focus.

San Francisco 49ers Most Difficult Games In 2016

1. Week 11 vs The New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are already the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl at 15 to 2.  As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are around, that will probably be the case.  Now add in the fact that both of them will be looking to make a statement this year after the deflategate fiasco. All this adds up to bad news for the rest of the league.  This looks by far to be one of San Francisco’s most difficult tests this season.

2. Week 3 @ The Seattle Seahawks

Seattle and San Francisco are division rivals and every game between them is of great importance.  The game will take place in Seattle, so the 12th man will be in full effect.  Any time these two teams get together it seems to be a defensive struggle and a low scoring game.  Since the 2014 NFC championship game San Francisco has been heading in the wrong direction.  Patrick Willis retirement has left a huge hole for the 49ers at linebacker, and Navarro Bowman has not been the same since his horrifying knee injury during 2013’s NFC championship game.  If the 49ers aren’t careful, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense could put this game out of reach quickly with just a few scores.

3. Week 10 @ The Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer are both nearing the end of their careers and both are hungry for a championship.  The Cardinals have been a playoff caliber team the past few seasons but haven’t been able to punch their ticket to the big game.  Arizona has one of the best defenses in the league, and a secondary featuring the likes of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.  Considering the struggles for the San Francisco offense last season it could be difficult for the 49ers to score points if that trend continues.  Hopefully Chip Kelly can help provide a spark to the offense and take some pressure off of a weakening defense.

4. Week 2 @ The Carolina Panthers

This will be another difficult road game for the 49ers that seem to face some of the leagues best away from home this season.  Assuming that Carolina comes out swinging this season and does not suffer a Super Bowl hangover, the 49ers could be in serious trouble in this game.  Carolina’s interior defense is stifling and features all-star linebacker Luke Kuechly.  The Panthers have to shut down San Francisco’s run game. This will put all the pressure on the passing game it could lead to many quick three and out’s for Kelly’s fast passed offense.  Cam Newton will prove difficult to contain and Kelvin Benjamin will be back this season to help strengthen Carolina’s receiving core.  Look for the Panthers to possibly run away with this game.

5. Week 17 vs The Seattle Seahawks

Ending the season against the Seahawks is a common occurrence for San Francisco.  There is no telling what role injuries might play at this point in the season.  Baring that both teams are at some form of full strength this will be a typical slug fest.  Most likely this game will have some playoff implications for Seattle, increasing the team’s motivation.  Regardless of how the season plays out for San Francisco they will be inclined to end their year with a win at home against their division rivals.  Seattle may need this game to increase their playoff ranking.  If so, expect the 49ers to be ready to leave it all on the field.

6. Week 6 @ The Buffalo Bills

Reports out of One Bills Drive thus far are saying that Tyrod Taylor looks better than ever and is ready to lead this team on a playoff run. The Bills will have a healthy Sammy Watkins this year. Watkins looks to be ready for this year after foot surgery in AprilLesean McCoy should also be healthy this season, and it looks as though his legal issues are behind him.  Rex Ryan has brought on his brother Rob to help mold the defense into what he hopes will be a top five unit this season.  Stephon Gilmore and rookie sensation Ronald Darby are one of the best corner duos in the league.  Safety Aaron Williams will be returning and hopes to remain healthy this season.  The Bills could prove to be to talented to overcome for the 49ers.

7. Week 5 vs. The Arizona Cardinals

By far the toughest part of the season for San Francisco will prove to be the first half.  It is very possible that by week 5 the 49ers could be looking at a 1-3 start with Arizona coming to town.  If San Francisco and Chip Kelly cannot get the offense going in this game early it could be a long day for the 49ers.  The Cardinals defense is going to try and force Chip Kelly’s offense of the field quickly.  This will give Carson Palmer ample time to lead his offense down the field and score points while the San Francisco’s offense is forced to watch.  San Francisco needs to step up and play hard in week 5.  It is very possible the season could be ruined early with a 1-4 start if they lose this game.

8. Week 4 vs. The Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are reaching the end of the Tony Romo Super Bowl window.  They need to make something happen this season, and Romo needs to stay health.  The Cowboys do have one of the best offensive lines in football. None the less Romo has had reoccurring injury issues.  There is no questioning the talent on the offensive side of the ball for Dallas. The addition of Ezekiel Elliot at running back only bolsters that talent.  Dallas also has one of the best receivers in the league with Dez Bryant.  The question mark is placed on the defense.  Though Dallas’ defense did exceed expectations last season it is not certain how they will perform this year.  Providing Dallas’ defense can excel this season the team should be a Super Bowl contender.

Make sure you keep reading as you check out San Francisco’s easiest games in 2016.