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49ers have the fourth toughest strength of schedule based on projected win totals

The Niners will have eight games in 2022 against teams who are projected to at least win nine games

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The 49ers’ win total has been set at 10 for the 2022 season, per DraftKings SportsBook. That seems high considering Trey Lance will be under center, and we don’t know who will be blocking for him yet.

That also tells you Vegas feels strongly about the Niners roster. It’s a team sport, and when you look at the star players on the roster, Lance won’t have to do the heavy lifting. Jimmy Garoppolo never did, so that’s not going to change for a 21-year-old.

A month ago, the 49ers’ third-placed schedule appeared as if it would benefit the team next season. However, with the 49ers playing the AFC West — a division that added seemingly every good player available this offseason — next year will be a bit more difficult than expected.

Instead of using the typical strength of schedule based on how teams performed last season, using teams projected win totals to determine next year’s strength of schedule makes more sense. That’s what Sharp Football Analysis did, and the Niners have the fourth toughest strength of schedule next year:

32: Chiefs
31: Jets
30: Rams
29: 49ers

As for the rest of the NFC West, the Cardinals are 25th, while the Seahawks have the fifth-easiest schedule. I’ll believe Seattle is a playoff contender once I see it.

It’s fair to question whether win totals projected this early are accurate. Outliers happen. Every now and then, you draft a Nick Bosa and soar over your season win total by five games. But, more often than not, the team you see now is what you’re going to get come training camp.

According to Warren Sharp’s analysis, only three out of 10 teams in 2021 overachieved and exceeded expectations against what he referred to as a “brutal” schedule. Likewise, winning against easy schedules and overachieving happened at the same rate.

The 49ers will have eight games in 2022 against teams who are projected to at least win nine games. That doesn’t include the Raiders (8.5) or Saints (7.5), who are viewed as fringe playoff teams. And, of course, four of those games are against the Rams and Cardinals since they’re in the NFC West.

Expect another season where the Niners are a rollercoaster.

On NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, Kyle Brandt asked, “if your life depends on a team taking it to the NFC title game next season, are you picking the Rams, Bucs, or Packers?”

You can’t exclude the 49ers from that debate. The odds are slim that Trey Lance is on the same level as Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers in 2022. Kyle Shanahan isn’t going to design an offense where Lance has more on his plate than he can handle.

If the team made it to the NFC Championship twice with the quarterback play Jimmy Garoppolo provided, it’s not a stretch to think Lance — who will come with far more variance than Garoppolo, both good and bad — can’t pull off the same.