The 49ers’ schedule was released Thursday. There are a slew of reasons their 2022 campaign will be fascinating, but the schedule offers a couple new layers of intrigue between QB battles, road trips and prime time games.
Here are some key takeaways from San Francisco’s 2022 schedule:
Dynamite Week 1 QB matchup
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers are planning on Trey Lance starting for them to open the season, which sets up a showdown between Lance and his 2021 draft-mate Justin Fields. Lance was the No. 3 overall pick by San Francisco. Fields went eight picks later to the Bears at No. 11. Both young signal callers are dynamic, athletic, big-armed passers who could wind up facing off in January more than once in their careers.
SANTA CLARA, CA – DECEMBER 24: George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers dives into the end zone for a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
It’s an early Christmas present for 49ers fans this year. They’ll host the Washington Commanders on Christmas Eve at Levi’s Stadium. San Francisco is 5-2 all-time the day before Christmas, with their last contest on that date coming in 2017 when they knocked off the Jaguars 44-33 at Levi’s Stadium. Here are all their Christmas Eve matchups ever:
1989 vs. Chicago: 49ers 26, Bears 0
1995 at Atlanta: Falcons 28, 49ers 27
2005 at St. Louis: 49ers 22, Rams 21
2006 vs. Arizona: Cardinals 26, 49ers 20
2011 at Seattle: 49ers 19, Seahawks 17
2016 at Los Angeles: 49ers 22, Rams 21
2017 vs. Jacksonville: 49ers 44, Jaguars 33
Don’t miss DeAndre
(AP Photo/Josie Lepe)
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has made a habit of dominating vs. the 49ers in his career. He’s suspended for the first six games of the 2022 campaign, but none of those six games will come against the 49ers. San Francisco plays two division games in the first six weeks – one against the Seahawks and another vs. the Rams. They don’t play the Cardinals until Week 11 when they square off in Mexico.
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Back-to-back games in Carolina and Atlanta in Weeks 5 and 6 will offer the 49ers an opportunity to stay on the East Coast between the games. They’ve stayed at the Greenbriar in West Virginia every year since 2019, though in those years the back-to-back East Coast games came in the first three weeks of the year. San Francisco is 6-0 in those six games.
Only two early kicks
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Thanks to games against the AFC West, the 49ers play a ton of afternoon kickoffs. San Francisco has just two games that kick off before 1:05 pm Pacific Time, and one of them is Week 1 in Chicago. The other is their Week 6 showdown against the Falcons in Atlanta.
Nothing Easy November
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers begin November with a Bye week, but then they start a brutal stretch of the year at home against the Chargers, then to Mexico to face the Cardinals, followed by a home game against the Saints. December doesn’t get any easier though. They host the Dolphins and Buccaneers to start the month, then visit the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football.
No Russ, but also Russ
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers face the Seahawks in Week 2 for their first matchup against Seattle without Russell Wilson starting at quarterback since 2011. The reprieve from Wilson won’t last long though. They’ll head to Denver the following week where Wilson is now the starting quarterback.