The 49ers seemingly have an easy schedule despite having to travel a lot, yet there are some potentially dangerous trap games ahead of them.
The San Francisco 49ers should have a bounce-back 2021 campaign after riding a wave of serious injuries en route to a 6-10 finish last year.
A last-place finish in the NFC West last season, combined with a relatively favorable strength of schedule in 2021, could equate to a playoff-caliber campaign that sees head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad finish with 10-plus wins.
At least that’s what FanSided’s Matt Verderame predicted would happen despite the Niners having to travel more than any other team this year — over 28,000 miles, to be exact.
Niner Noise’s own win-loss predictions for the season are also very optimistic, and it’s not hard to see how San Francisco could net more than 10 wins on the season, potentially pushing for a worst-to-first designation within the NFC West. Yet as anyone who has watched football for any brief period of time can attest, there are always going to be the worrisome trap game on the schedule, setting up the potential for an upset loss against an inferior team.
The 2019 Super Bowl-bound 49ers found this out, too, losing a Week 15 home bout to the Atlanta Falcons, thanks to a last-second touchdown by wide receiver Julio Jones. The Niners that year were the superior team. But coming off an emotional back-and-forth road win over the New Orleans Saints the previous week, San Francisco’s efforts against Atlanta were awfully flat-footed and uninspiring.
The same could be the case again this season, particularly if the 49ers get off to a hot start, and these three trap games should force Shanahan and Co. to be mindful of their efforts.