Another coach, another home opener. Kyle Shanahan’s debut as 49ers coach reportedly will come at Levi’s Stadium, just not on the same “Monday Night Football” stage his predecessors enjoyed the previous two seasons.
The 49ers will open by hosting the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Sept. 10, the Charlotte Observer and Sacramento Bee reported ahead of the league’s 5 p.m. official schedule release. The 49ers’ last two seasons began with “Monday Night Football” routs, home victories over Minnesota (20-3) and the Los Angeles Rams (28-0) that inspired false hope of a turnaround under coaches Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly.
Also for a third straight year, the 49ers’ first road game will come in Week 2, and although it’s just up the coast to division rival Seattle, according to the Sacramento Bee. That trek is not as challenging as those Week 2 games encountered by Tomsula and Kelly. The NFL schedule-maker did the 49ers no favor the previous two years after their opening game, forcing them to follow each with an East Coast trip against a team coming off 10 days of rest; the 49ers lost 43-18 at Pittsburgh in 2015 and 46-27 at Carolina last year.
In 2013, the 49ers visited Seattle in Week 2, losing 29-3 after opening their last playoff season with a home win over Green Bay.
Dates of two other games have been leaked: the 49ers will host the New York Giants on Nov. 12, and the Chicago Bears will host the 49ers on Dec. 3, according to the New York Post and Chicago Tribune, respectively.