49ers 2020 schedule: 5 must-win games for San Francisco

Neiko Thorpe #23 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images)
Neiko Thorpe #23 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images) /
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49ers, Giants, Jimmie Ward
Jimmie Ward #25 of the San Francisco 49ers eyes Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

With the 2020 NFL schedule released, the San Francisco 49ers have some key must-win games over their campaign to get back to the Super Bowl. Here are the five biggest.

A year ago, few expected the San Francisco 49ers would start the regular season with a perfect 8-0 record, remaining as the lone undefeated team that deep in the year.

Parts of the Niners’ schedule were anticipated as brutal, particularly the opening two weeks on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, while having to deal with hot, humid weather.

San Francisco weathered that early trip and then some before coming home and solidifying its dominance within the conference.

Now, with the 2020 NFL schedule out and released, the 49ers again face some notable challenges. The Niners will have an early road trip, albeit not having to start off the regular season on the road, playing the New York Jets and New York Giants back to back at MetLife Stadium in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively.

The lack of travel is a bonus for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co., yes. But right away, you can see why one of those contests is a must-win game for San Francisco.

Here are five the Niners will want to pull off in 2020.

No. 5: Week 3 @ New York Giants

Perhaps it’s not so much about winning Week 3 against the G-Men, rather at least pulling off one win in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

But if San Francisco is to win just one of those games, it better be the second in the two-game series.

The Giants figure to be a bigger challenge than the Jets anyway, although odds makers appear to favor Gang Green more this season. A key reason is running back Saquon Barkley, who could pose a serious threat to a Niners run defense which was vulnerable last season, yet didn’t do much to improve during the offseason.

Particularly after trading away defensive tackle DeForest Buckner during the offseason.

Barkley runs New York’s offense, and it’ll be an early test to see how San Francisco defends against this Pro Bowl threat.

Coming home after a loss could set the wrong tone either way, and it’s important the 49ers finish off the opening road trip with at least a .500 record.