The San Francisco 49ers head to St. Louis for Monday Night Football, and it could be viewed as marking the start of the second big stretch of the schedule. The 49ers opened the season with a 5-game stretch that included three home games. They finished that stretch 3-2, capped with a 2-game win streak.
They now head on the road a stretch of 4 road games in 6 weeks. They travel to face the St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos, have their bye week, host the St. Louis Rams, and then travel to face the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants. They have two more road games after that, but that pair involves a trip up the road to Oakland, and then a quick flight to Seattle. All road games bring a certain difficulty, but the basic traveling involved is simplified for those two games.
I don't think we need to say, "X stretch of games is a make or break stretch". When you're trying to claim home field in the conference, they're basically all sort of make or break. That being said, this is an important stretch for staking a claim on home field. A strong run through this road trip would likely put the 49ers in a great position for final push over the remaining six games of the regular season.
The 49ers will have plenty of traveling to do, but they have sort of lucked out with the timing of their bye. They are playing 4 of 5 games on the road, but it plays out as 4 out of 6 weeks thanks to the bye. I have to think that will make life a little bit easier.
How do you see this five game stretch playing out? I think basic logic would provide for this kind of breakdown:
@ Rams: Win
@ Broncos: Loss
vs Rams: Win
@ Saints: Loss
@ Giants: Win
Of course, we also know that logic does not apply in a lot of weeks. I would be surprised if the 49ers ran the table on this stretch, but who really knows, right?