SANTA CLARA — The 49ers went a lackluster 2-2 in the season's proverbial "first quarter." Still to come are 12 games, only three of which are against teams currently with a winning record.
Those upper-echelon foes are the Tennessee Titans (3-1; host the 49ers on Oct. 20), the New Orleans Saints (3-0; host 49ers on Nov. 17) and the Seattle Seahawks (4-0; visit 49ers on Dec. 8).
All other opponents have one or no wins, except for the Arizona Cardinals (2-2) and Houston Texans (2-2).
Here is a glimpse at the remaining regular-season schedule:
Oct. 6, vs. Houston: The Texans blew a 20-3 lead at home Sunday against the Seahawks, who maintained a two-game lead on the 49ers in the NFC West. Matt Schaub has thrown a pick-six in three straight games. Linebacker Brian Cushing must pass a post-concussion test to be cleared for Sunday night's game at Candlestick.
Oct. 13, vs. Arizona: Sunday's win at vulnerable Tampa Bay leveled out the Cardinals' record, as they've only played one home game thus far.
Oct. 20, at Tennessee: The Titans may not have starting quarterback Jake Locker, who sustained a hip injury in Sunday's win over the New York Jets that could sideline him a month, according to The Tennesseean's Jim Wyatt.
Oct. 24, at Jacksonville (in London): The 49ers should be heavy favorites in Wembley Stadium when they play the back end of their two-game road trip, and do so against likely the NFL's worst team.
Nov. 3: Bye
Nov. 10, vs. Carolina: Idle last weekend, the Panthers are hoping their Sept. 22 win over the New York Giants still offers enough momentum to carry them to their first winning season since 2008.
Nov. 17, at New Orleans: A return trip to the Superdome will spark memories of last season's Super Bowl defeat, and those thoughts must be blocked out against a Saints team that looks fully charged (excuse the blackout-related pun) upon coach Sean Payton's return.
Nov. 25, at Washington: Sunday's win in Oakland marked the first this season by the-Washington-football-team-whose-nickname-is-becoming-more-ignored-in-mainstream-media.
Dec. 1, vs. St. Louis: The Rams looked abysmal in Thursday night's 35-11 loss to the 49ers. How much farther will Jeff Fisher's club fall over the next two months?
Dec. 8, vs. Seattle: The 49ers' bid for a third consecutive NFC West title could come down to the Seahawks' visit at Candlestick.
Dec. 15, at Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers' turmoil is already in full swing after quarterback Josh Freeman got benched this past weekend in favor of Mike Glennon, who failed to end their winless start.
Dec. 23, vs. Atlanta: Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones put forth phenomenal efforts Sunday night but the Falcons fell to 1-3 in their loss to New England. The Falcons' visit to San Francisco will mark the 49ers' final regular-season appearance at Candlestick Park. With two losses already, the 49ers might not be playing any playoff games there, either.
Dec. 29, at Arizona: Will Carson Palmer (10 sacks so far) survive all season and start this finale?