On Thursday, the NFL released the full schedule for all 32 teams, and fans across the land are making their predictions for their respective teams while trying to manifest best-case scenarios into a physical reality.
One of the most intriguing teams in the league is the San Francisco 49ers, who boast one of the most talented rosters around but are dealing with two separate sagas.
Then there is the matter of Deebo Samuel, the 49ers’ talented and versatile wide receiver who reportedly wants to be traded.
The 2022 season has the potential to be messy and hugely disappointing, but it could also end in glory, or at least a step forward for San Francisco.
Here is a look at their schedule for this coming season.
It's here! 👀
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) May 13, 2022
The Niners Will Get Two Easy Opponents To Start Off
Ideally, many coaches would rather have their team’s schedule front-loaded with easier opponents so that they can use those games as an opportunity to establish what they want to get done on both sides of the football and allow their players to gel.
The 49ers will take on the Chicago Bears in Week 1, a team that doesn’t seem to have a great chance of making the playoffs and a team that San Fran should be able to beat without much difficulty.
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers_) May 12, 2022
The same will be true of the Niners’ Week 2 opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, a team that is in flux after trading Russell Wilson and claims to not be rebuilding.
Yes, the Seahawks still have DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett at wideout, but Drew Lock is not exactly a quarterback that intimidates opposing defenses, thus the 49ers should defeat them one way or another.
These relatively easy first two contests will especially come in handy if Lance happens to be starting under center, as it will give him the opportunity to build chemistry with his receivers without the pressure of dealing with a very talented opponent.
The Tough Stretches
Starting in Week 3, the Niners will begin a challenging but short stretch where they will face the Denver Broncos and the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.
The following two games should be manageable, as San Francisco will take on the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, two squads that will likely miss the playoffs.
Then in Week 7, the most challenging part of the schedule begins.
The 49ers will play the Kansas City Chiefs (sans Tyreek Hill, however), the Rams once again, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Arizona Cardinals in succession.
San Francisco could easily lose three of those four, but fortunately, it will have its bye week before facing the Bolts at Levi’s Stadium.
Week 13 and 14 will be against the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, respectively, but the 49ers will have the benefit of home field in both contests.
The season will end with a visit to Sin City to take on the hated Las Vegas Raiders in Week 17 before coming back to the Bay to host the Arizona Cardinals.
One of the few disadvantages of being a contender such as the 49ers is having a higher strength of schedule.
However, they should be sufficient breaks in the schedule between the difficult stretches to give them a chance to catch their breath and regenerate themselves should they suffer any really tough losses.