An early look at the San Francisco 49ers 2023 opponents
By Tommy Jaggi
The San Francisco 49ers are focused on competing for a Super Bowl, but here’s an early look at each opponent they will face during the 2023 season.
Right now, nothing else matters more than preparing to host the Seattle Seahawks for the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. The San Francisco 49ers have been the hottest team in the NFL since Week 8 and they have won 10 straight games to close out the 2022 regular season.
While the focus is clearly on the here and now as Kyle Shanahan pursues his first Super Bowl victory, it’s never too early to take a quick look ahead to next season. After finishing the regular season with a 12-4 record with the league’s top-ranked defense, is it reasonable to expect a repeat performance next year?
Unfortunately for San Francisco, the list of opponents in 2023 looks a bit more daunting, but it’s nothing a great team shouldn’t be able to handle. As usual, the 49ers will have six total games against their division rivals in the NFC West (the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Rams). Here are the other opponents this will face next year.
49ers will face the NFC East in 2023
The NFC East was the most surprising division in football this year. Though many believed the Dallas Cowboys would be Super Bowl contenders, I don’t think anyone expected the Eagles to be a 14-3 team this year with a great shot at a Super Bowl title. Additionally, the Giants and Commanders both outperformed expectations.
After facing a pretty easy schedule in 2022, the 49ers will be tasked with going up against the league’s winningest division from the most recent season. They will host the Cowboys and Giants and will be on the road for the Eagles and Commanders in 2023.
49ers will face the AFC North in 2023
The AFC North was a bit of a disappointment this season, but the Cincinnati Bengals finished almost as strong as San Francisco in 2022 — winning 10 of their final 11 games including 8 straight wins to close out the season. Joe Burrow’s high-powered offense will have this top-ranked 49ers defense on its toes in this contest.
Meanwhile, a healthy Lamar Jackson could potentially give them fits while most assume Deshaun Watson will be much better for the Browns in his second season with the team. Even the Pittsburgh Steelers finished with a 7-2 record since the bye week and could emerge as playoff contenders next season. It will be interesting to see if the 49ers can sweep the AFC North or if they will be overpowered by impressive quarterbacks on more than one occasion.
Other opponents the 49ers will face in 2023
In addition to facing the NFC East and AFC North, as well as six games in their own division, the 49ers’ final three opponents for 2023 will come against teams based on 2022 standings. San Francisco will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The game against the Bucs will be at home while they will travel to Minnesota and Jacksonville for the other two contests.
This is certainly looking like a much tougher schedule than the one the 49ers faced in 2022, but Shanahan and company should be up to the task. For now, we will all be focused on San Francisco’s playoff run as they pursue their sixth Lombardi Trophy.