In 2019, there was a stretch of the San Francisco 49ers’ schedule that I called The Gauntlet. It was a stretch later in the season that put them in three games against what many considered the leagues best at that point. The games were Week 12 in a home game against the Green Bay Packers where Aaron Rodgers was flat out embarrassed, After that were two away games: Week 13 against the Baltimore Ravens in a game the 49ers may have won had weather conditions been better, and Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints in a high-scoring game where the defense took the day off. That aforementioned Week 14 game is considered by many the best game of the year. The 49es wound up going 2-3 with their only loss coming against the Ravens.
The Gauntlet, as I called it was something that would have gone down in 49ers lore if they won the Super Bowl. They obviously couldn’t put the championship game away, but it still remains a difficult 3-game stretch.
So do you see a gauntlet for 2023?
We already talked about a single game that we were worried about, so the question now is if there’s a stretch we can call “The Gauntlet”. A stretch that would be difficult but if the 49ers can win a few of those games, it’d be all the more impressive. Or just a stretch of games that worries you.
I’m skeptical to put the opening three games in as a “gauntlet” just because of how early in the season it is. I’m looking instead at the stretch of Seattle Seahawks in Week 12, Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13, and the Seahawks again in Week 14. I don’t think that’s quite The Gauntlet from 2019, but it’s close. Mostly because the 49ers are stuck traveling to Seattle to face the Seahawks on a short week to start, then travel to face the Eagles, and then return home for round two against the Seahawks. If there’s anything close to The Gauntlet, that would be it.
But I’m curious what stretch of games would be worrisome to you. Do you see the 49ers having a Gauntlet segment of their schedule?