Reason No. 2: 49ers fly to the East Coast in Week 5 for a short-week game after hosting Rams
The NFL sure does have an East Coast bias, right? Hold onto that thought for a second. We’ll circle back to it.
At any rate, the Niners’ games between Weeks 4 and 5 are going to be awfully challenging.
Sure, San Francisco hosting the Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football in Week 4 is must-watch television, a grudge match in the wake of last season’s NFC Championship game. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever, and the 49ers will look to pay back what happened in the fourth quarter during that particular playoff showdown.
But the part where the Niners got screwed is them having to travel all the way back east for one of two Eastern Time games, this one a Week 5 road bout against the rebuilding Carolina Panthers.
Much like the Seahawks, San Francisco should be able to knock off a scuffling Carolina squad with quarterback Sam Darnold (for now) at the helm. But arguably the only way the NFL could have given the Panthers a chance was to make the 49ers fly all the way across the country to face off against a sub-par quarterback and team, doing so on a short week nonetheless.
The Niners visiting, oh, let’s say the Chicago Bears, whom they play in Week 1, would have been a much easier road game for Week 5 than a cross-country road trip with a 10 a.m. PT kickoff.