The 49ers schedule in 2022 consists of some notably tough games, yet these five road contests stand out as the most challenging.
In many ways, the San Francisco 49ers schedule for 2022 won’t be quite as difficult as it was a year ago, especially looking at a relative decrease in cross-country travel. In terms of road trips and the mileage traveled, the Niners enter the NFL schedule this season ranked eighth most in this department.
This isn’t unusual for West Coast teams, and San Francisco only has two games in the Eastern Time zone: Week 5 at the Carolina Panthers and Week 6 at the Atlanta Falcons.
Although we can probably expect head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad to spend the week back east between those two games.
Both of those teams are going through rebuilds, too, so that should make those portions of the 49ers schedule a bit easier. Same with the notable decline in prowess the Niners’ longtime NFC West rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, have entering 2022.
Still, San Francisco is tied for the fifth-toughest NFL schedule this season based on last year’s win-loss records (.533), meaning there are nevertheless going to be some challenging road bouts.
Here are the five that stand out the most.
Toughest road game on 49ers schedule No. 5: Week 11 @ Cardinals
OK, so the Arizona Cardinals don’t necessarily stand out as a majorly imposing team this season, although their hot start in 2021 can’t be overlooked.
What makes this game a challenge for the 49ers is the fact they’ll be the road team on the NFL’s international series, it taking place at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico.
It’s Week 11’s Monday Night Football contest, and all that is fine. But the real challenge of this bout is the elevation factor.
At 7,200 feet above sea level, Estadio Azteca is nearly 2,000 feet higher in elevation than the Denver Broncos’ Empower Field at Mile High, which marks the highest-elevation NFL venue in the United States.
At least the Niners get one more day to acclimate, this being a Monday night game. But one should expect plenty of oxygen masks on the sidelines and in the locker room, as well as the periodic cramping injuries for both Arizona and San Francisco throughout the contest.
Whether or not those play a significant factor is anyone’s guess, but they will make Week 11 much more difficult.