4 reasons to be excited about 49ers playoff chances in 2021

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Laken Tomlinson, Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers offensive guard Laken Tomlinson (75) with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers scuffled amid injuries last year, keeping them out of the playoff picture, but there are reasons for hope and excitement in 2021.

Perhaps the San Francisco 49ers‘ Super Bowl “revenge tour” was merely put on hold for a year.

At least that’s what a lot of fans would like to think after injury attrition decimated the team en route to a 6-10 finish last year after falling just short to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

There are plenty of things working against the Niners, as far as playoff hopes this season go. For starters, the NFC West is a gauntlet, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams or even the Arizona Cardinals climb up to the top in the division.

Heck, the NFC West could possibly send all four teams to the postseason, too. That wouldn’t be the biggest of surprises.

Plus, the Niners are far from being a truly complete team, and there are holes on the roster.

That said, let’s try taking the positive approach for a change and break down four specific reasons why fans should be optimistic about San Francisco getting into the playoffs this year.

No. 4: 49ers have a relatively easy strength of schedule

True, the 49ers have to travel more than any other team, over 28,000 roundtrip miles this year. But they’re cutting into that with some stays on the East Coast, which should help, and there aren’t too many weird glitches on the schedule.

OK, a Thursday Night Football road trip against the Tennessee Titans in Week 16 isn’t ideal, and neither is an early bye in Week 6. But there are only two back-to-back sets of road games on the calendar, and one of them is right out of the gate in Weeks 1 and 2 against two lesser opponents: the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles.

Again, winnable games.

Read More: Early win/loss predictions for 49ers’ 2021 NFL schedule

Tack on the fact the Niners get a 17th game against the still-developing Cincinnati Bengals, and that’s a plus. So is playing the lowly AFC South with two almost-guaranteed wins against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans. Throw in an at-large matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, and you can see the point.

Overall, San Francisco’s strength of schedule for 2021 is tied for 19th toughest.

Not bad at all. Winnable.