While the NFC West isn’t quite the gauntlet it was a year ago, the 49ers will nevertheless face some stiff competition within their own division in 2022.
The AFC West has taken over as the league’s toughest division entering 2022. It’s no longer the NFC West.
For the San Francisco 49ers, this isn’t exactly a bad thing.
Sure, the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams are still out there within the division, and while they may not have gotten significantly stronger, they’ll still be a major force to be reckoned with. The Arizona Cardinals, meanwhile, have always given head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad feisty fits.
And we won’t go into the Niners’ record against the Seattle Seahawks dating back to 2012, even though the Hawks are entering an entirely new era in the wake of quarterback Russell Wilson’s trade to the Denver Broncos.
For those relatively new to the NFL world, San Francisco will play each divisional rival twice during the regular season. A year ago, the 49ers went 2-4 within the NFC West, the only two wins coming against those Rams before a painful playoff loss in the NFC Championship game.
That overall record isn’t exactly a recipe for success, though, meaning Shanahan and Co. will have to display some sort of improvement if they want to climb out of last year’s third-place divisional standing.
So, as yet another preview piece to reinforce Niner Noise’s earlier game-by-game predictions (although with a different “predictor” now at the helm… me), let’s take another stab at just how the Niners fare against their NFC West foes in 2022.