No. 2: Last-place schedule helps SF 49ers
Outside of having to play each NFC West team twice in 2021, the Niners get the benefit of a last-place schedule after having finished 2020 in fourth place within the division last season.
The schedule automatically includes the NFC North and AFC South. Of those two divisions, the Packers, Titans, Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts were the only teams to make the playoffs, and both the Bears and Colts have some serious quarterbacking questions to address this offseason.
But the in-play games for 2021 include matchups against last-place squads like the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles, who are both undergoing coaching changes and have more than a handful of roster questions, too.
And San Francisco can cross off the seemingly annual trip to New Orleans to take on the Saints. And without quarterback Drew Brees in the fray following his likely retirement, the Saints shouldn’t be looked at as a legitimate NFC contender anyway.
Much like the case in 2019 when the SF 49ers were enjoying a last-place schedule after going 4-12 the previous year, Kyle Shanahan and Co. can hope a similar scenario pans out in 2021 where the Niners pummel through a much easier schedule than what they’d have to deal with if they finished higher within the NFC West in 2020.