First half of 49ers' 2022 season could dictate playoff fate

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The 49ers' 2022 schedule is out, and it sets up well for the coach Kyle Shanahan's team if they're able to rack up some early road wins.

The 49ers have a slate of away games at the start of the season that ultimately could set them up for success down the stretch. 

The start of the 2022 season is not nearly as challenging as the gauntlet the club faced in the latter half of 2019. After racking up a 9-1 record on their path to Super Bowl LVI, the 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers and then traveled to Baltimore and New Orleans in back-to-back weeks. 

Road-heavy opening stretch

This coming season opens up with five of the 49ers' first eight games away from home. With any quarterback taking over the reins, there is an adjustment period. Even future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady had a rough start in his first season as the Buccaneers' play-caller. 

In Week 1, the 49ers open up on the road in Chicago, and it looks to be the sophomore debuts of both Trey Lance and Bears quarterback Justin Fields. The identity of each team is usually still being formed at the start of the season and the club that can get into a rhythm quickly will have an advantage. 

After the 49ers' home opener in Week 2 hosting the Seahawks, the club heads to Denver to take on former Seattle foe Russell Wilson. The stacked AFC West will be tough opponents for the club and the Broncos are the first of the series. 

In Week 4, the club hosts the defending Super Bowl champion Rams before heading out on the road for back-to-back games at Carolina and Atlanta. While the team has fared well historically staying on the east coast between two road games in the eastern time zone, it is still a challenge to be away from home for a long stretch. 

Three tough matchups

The 49ers return home to face three of their toughest matchups of the season. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs visit in Week 7 for the rematch of Super Bowl LVI, which will offer heightened emotions for much of the roster. 

In Week 8, the club hosts the Rams before their bye in Week 9. They return to action to host the Los Angeles Chargers with Justin Herbert at the helm and a team that is high-powered on both sides of the ball. 

If the 49ers can get through Week 10 with a winning record, they are set up favorably in the latter portion of the season.

Favorable end of season

After heading to Mexico City in Week 11 to face off with Arizona -- a "road" game at a neutral site -- the club hosts the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins, who are in rebuilding phases. 

Brady and the Buccaneers visit Santa Clara in Week 14, which would be a challenge for any defense. But that game is followed by more favorable matchups in Seattle in Week 15 -- albeit on a short week on "Thursday Night Football -- and hosting Washington the following week. 

The 49ers face the last of the AFC West on New Year's Day in Las Vegas, which will have a raucous crowd (or maybe hungover). Davante Adams has historically played well facing the 49ers, and will definitely pose a challenge prior to the team's final regular-season matchup with the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium. 

If the 49ers can get through the first half of the season with an advantage in the win column, they should be headed to the postseason for a second consecutive year. 

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