How many preseason games do the 49ers play?

Along with the rest of the NFL, the 49ers preseason campaign actually shrunk in recent years.
San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders
San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders / Jeff Bottari/GettyImages

Fans don't have to travel too far back into the memory back to remember when there were no NFL preseason games.

Just prior to the 2020 regular season, the COVID-19 pandemic knocked out what was previously a four-game exhibition period for 30 teams, a five-game exhibition phase for the two other squads partaking in the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.

Plenty of players and coaches, including the San Francisco 49ers' Kyle Shanahan, actually voiced approval of zero preseason action. Instead, practices and scrimmages against other teams appear to be the preferred method.

However, preseason games still make the league a lot of money, and fans still pay attention.

Even if the games don't actually count for anything.

How many NFL preseason games will the 49ers play this year?

Prior to the 2020 season, the NFL had four preseason games on every team's schedule, and teams usually treated the third exhibition bout as a regular-season tune-up. Starters would typically play the first half, and there'd actually be a semblance of meaningful football for a while.

Starting in 2021, however, the league adopted a 17-game regular-season schedule, up from 16 games, but agreed to take away one of the four preseason bouts.

As such, teams like the Niners will typically play in three preseason games.

San Francisco's 2023 preseason is as follows:

  • Preseason Week 1: 49ers @ Raiders -- Sunday, Aug. 13 at 4 p.m. ET
  • Preseason Week 2: Broncos @ 49ers -- Saturday, Aug. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Preseason Week 3: Chargers @ 49ers -- Friday, Aug. 25 at 10 p.m. ET

Read more: 49ers 2023 schedule is out, we predicted every game right here

This season, the 49ers will face off against three of the four teams from the AFC West: the Raiders, Broncos and Chargers. The only team the Niners won't play from the AFC West this preseason is the Kansas City Chiefs.

San Francisco's 2023 regular-season campaign begins on Sunday, Sept. 10 for Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Read more from Niner Noise