Knowing Where They Stand
September 05 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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One of the benefits of the re-aligned NFL and new scheduling format is that the 49ers will have a better idea as to where they stand with regards to the rest of the NFL. In the past, when the 49ers played games against the Saints, Panthers and Falcons (and yes the Rams if we go back a few years), the team really didnít know how it stacked up with the rest of the NFL.
With the revamped league, the 49ers will play the Rams twice, as they would have before. This game is obviously the ultimate measuring stick. But playing the Seahawks and Cardinals twice is also a good indicator. Both these teams would have been playoff contenders if not for the NFLís realignment.
In playing the Giants in the season opener, the 49ers are also given the opportunity, very early in the season to measure themselves against a playoff contending team. This will undoubtedly prove to be advantageous as the 49ers look to shore up and discover weaknesses on the team.
After playing five pre-season games the 49ers will be ready for the Giants, but unlike in the past. They canít however look take this yearís schedule lightly. In the past the 49ers have had what was regarded by many as an easy schedule, but after making the playoffs, and being handed a much stronger division, the 49ers will have to battle each week for victory.