The San Francisco 49ers made it all the way to the NFC Championship Game this past season, but they are entering a new era in 2022. Last year's first-round pick, Trey Lance, figures to be the starting quarterback moving forward, offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel is now a head coach in Miami and Deebo Samuel's future with the franchise is uncertain. Still, this team has everything necessary to be a Super Bowl contender.
San Francisco started the 2021 season 3-5, but rebounded to finish 10-7 and earn a playoff berth. In 2022, the 49ers will again have to stay afloat in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. Unfortunately, Kyle Shanahan and Co. will also play the AFC West this year, which may have overtaken the NFC West as the best division in the NFL thanks to an offseason influx of talent headlined by Russell Wilson's arrival in Denver.
Below, we will provide a complete look at San Francisco's schedule.
Los Angeles Rams: The 49ers fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams in the NFC Championship Game, but still swept L.A. in the regular-season series. The Rams will once again be one of the best teams in the NFL, and will be looking to return the favor of last year's sweep.
Arizona Cardinals: While the Cardinals' success didn't last, they started 7-0 in 2021. They also swept the season series with the 49ers. However, Kyler Murray wants a new contract and DeAndre Hopkins has been suspended for the first six games of the season. Will this team get off to a slow start in 2022?
Seattle Seahawks: No more Russell Wilson on offense, no more Bobby Wagner captaining the defense. The Seahawks may be rebuilding this season, but Pete Carroll seems confident in Geno Smith and/or Drew Lock moving forward.
Kansas City Chiefs: A Super Bowl LIV rematch. That was actually the last time these two teams played. Patrick Mahomes lost his top wideout in Tyreek Hill this offseason, but Kansas City went out and found an intriguing slot weapon in Skyy Moore in the draft. The Chiefs also paid plenty of attention to the defensive side of the ball this offseason, and could be even better there in 2022.
Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers could end up winning the AFC West after missing the playoffs last season, as they have a young star quarterback in Justin Herbert, and a defense that has been completely revamped with the additions of Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson.
Miami Dolphins: San Francisco hosts an old friend in Mike McDaniel. The Dolphins have put together quite an offseason for themselves. Trading for Hill was a big headline, but Miami also signed Ced Wilson, Terron Armstead, Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert and Connor Williams. This looks like a playoff team.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints don't have Sean Payton anymore, but honestly, they should be much better in 2022. Jameis Winston led New Orleans to a 5-2 record before tearing his ACL, the Saints drafted a sure-handed wideout in Chris Olave to pair with Michael Thomas and then swung for the fences by signing hometown hero Tyrann Mathieu. This team will be better than you expect.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Any Tom Brady-led opponent is always going to be tough, and while he retired for a few weeks this offseason, he didn't show any signs of slowing down in 2021. In fact, he passed for a career-high 5,316 yards! This team is going to be a contender again, and a good NFC measuring-stick matchup.
Washington Commanders: This could be a bit of a revenge game for the 49ers, as Carson Wentz defeated San Francisco last October. While the Indianapolis Colts parted ways with Wentz after just one season, Ron Rivera and the Commanders seem very high on him.
Los Angeles Rams
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons have an intriguing team this year. They have a new quarterback, who will either be Marcus Mariota or Desmond Ridder, a budding star at tight end in Kyle Pitts and a new receiver in Drake London. However, it remains to be seen if this defense has improved.
Carolina Panthers: The Panthers have a quarterback question and many view Matt Rhule as someone who will not be with the organization in 2023. While injuries played a large part in derailing last year's campaign, Carolina did start 3-0 last season. The offensive line has been improved and there's a new offensive coordinator in Ben McAdoo. Carolina could be an interesting team to watch if Christian McCaffrey returns to form.
Chicago Bears: The 49ers' Week 1 opponent. Justin Fields flashed at times during his rookie season, but does he have the weaponry to take a step forward in Year 2? Matt Eberflus will ensure Chicago's defensive success, but you have to score points to win games.
Denver Broncos: This Broncos roster has been ready to compete for a year or so, and now they finally have a starting quarterback in Russell Wilson. Watch out, Denver could be a Super Bowl contender if Wilson is still a top 10 passer.
Las Vegas Raiders: Derek Carr and Davante Adams, the new dynamic duo in the west. The Raiders also made some nice additions on defense in Chandler Jones and Rock Ya-Sin. Expect second-year safety Trevon Moehrig to take a nice step forward as well.
Full 2022 schedule