The NFC West always faces a tough travel schedule given the layout of teams around the country, and this year the San Francisco 49ers are among the worst. CBSSports.com put together a ranking based strictly on individual round-trips, and that has the 49ers traveling the most of any team. Their 27,998 miles are 1,546 more than the Miami Dolphins who are playing nine games away from South Beach, including one in London. The Dolphins have 26,452 travel miles, including 17,568 in their normal eight road games.
While the 49ers are at the top with the most miles, their total will likely come down a little bit when all is said and done. That article shows a map with each of the trips they will take. It includes a 1,857 mile trip to and from Chicago, and a 2,163 mile trip to and from Cleveland.
I bring up those games specifically because they are back-to-back in Weeks 13 and 14 of the upcoming season. They mark the only time this season the 49ers will play consecutive road games. The team requested such a potential layout in their schedule so they could take advantage of the facilities in Youngstown, Ohio.
For this two-game swing, it makes perfect sense to spend a few days in Ohio. The trip from Chicago to Youngstown is 403 miles on the ground, but I'd imagine the team would fly into Youngstown's regional airport. For our purposes though, we'll count 403 miles. The trip from Youngstown to Cleveland is 74 miles. My guess is the team would bus up to Cleveland Friday night, have a walkthrough on Saturday, then play on Sunday. They would then fly back from Cleveland to the Bay Area.
In looking at these miles, we would subtract 1,857 miles for the trip from Chicago back to the Bay Area. We would then add in 403 miles (this number will vary) and 74 miles. That leaves them with 26,618. It is still a ridiculous amount of miles compared to the rest of the league.
The NFC West has always dealt with this problem. The best chance for this issue to be lessened would be with some divisional realignment. The best chance for that would be moving the Rams to LA, or moving the Raiders and Chargers to LA. If the Rams moved to LA, they would obviously become an easier trip. If they move the Raiders and Chargers, there is a chance they move the Rams out of the NFC West, and move one of those two teams into the NFC West.
Fooch's update: Should have removed the Cleveland trip as well -