Worst-case NFL schedule scenarios for 49ers in 2023

San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars / Corey Perrine / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 49ers will already have a first-place schedule this season, but things could get much, much worse.

The official 2023 NFL schedule release is still a few days away. And while we don't know exactly how the San Francisco 49ers schedule will pan out this upcoming season, we do know which opponents are on the docket.

The Niners will have a first-place schedule this year and have their obligatory home-and-away games within the NFC West. Additionally, San Francisco plays both the NFC East and AFC North this season, and there are also three at-large games, too.

For reference, here are the opponents:

Home Games: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away Games: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars

Every year, it seems as if the schedule-makers screw every team in the NFL at least once, and sometimes, the "getting screwed" happens multiple times over the course of a season.

In the Niners' case, what would be some of the worst-case schedule scenarios that could happen?

Worst-case 49ers schedule scenario No. 1: A 3-game road trip

Typically, the NFL doesn't like to schedule teams for three consecutive road games. And if it does, it hopes those games are close to home.

With San Francisco playing the AFC North, NFC East and also visiting the Jaguars, a three-game road trip on the East Coast is legitimately in play.

Sure, the 49ers typically stay back east during those back-to-back (to-back) contests, but winning three consecutive games on the road is exceptionally challenging.

Worst-case 49ers schedule scenario No. 2: Playing Jaguars early in 2023

Speaking of visiting the Jags, it would be disastrous having to travel to Jacksonville early in the season in September when the Florida heat and humidity is still awfully high.

The Niners had to do something similar back in 2019 when they visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to open up the season, and San Francisco won that game despite the heat wave.

Instead, the schedule makers should opt for giving the 49ers September games in cold-weather cities while saving that Florida trip for December.

Worst-case 49ers schedule scenario No. 3: Playing Thursday Night Football on the road, away from West Coast

This happened back in 2021. Remember when the Niners had to go visit the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football on a short week?

Read More: 49ers schedule 2023: Everything you need to know

San Francisco nearly won that game, which is remarkable considering the significant travel on the short week. But, remembering just how narrow it was for the 49ers to get into the playoffs that year, another sizable travel distance away from the West Coast on Thursday night would be outright bad.

Especially if it was yet another late-season game.

Worst-case 49ers schedule scenario No. 4: Too-early bye week

How did the Niners ever manage to survive that 2019 season. How did they even finish as the No. 1 seed in the conference that year?

Crazy, especially in light of having a Week 4 bye.

Yes, Week 4. That's the beginning of bye weeks being scheduled. And most teams absolutely hate it. The preference is, with little doubt, for a mid-season bye week or one toward the end of the year.

Definitely not the first possible chance, which is what happened to San Francisco in 2019.

But, if the 49ers end up with an early bye this season and make it to another Super Bowl (hopefully winning it this time) despite the challenge, so be it.

Next. Too-early win/loss predictions for 49ers schedule in 2023. dark