The 49ers have been involved in four or five primetime games in the last three seasons.
It is no coincidence that they are. San Francisco is typically a must see television. The scheduled primetime games say it all. Anytime a team gets four or the maximum five primetime matchups indicates how good they are and their brand. I would expect no less when the 2022 NFL schedule releases on May 12 this Thursday.
One primetime matchup for the 49ers is already known with a Monday night Nov. 21 matchup with the Cardinals revealed in Mexico City. Five primetime games seems fitting for a team that was just in the NFC championship game, so that means the 49ers will have four other opportunities to be featured.
But the real question is which teams will the 49ers face in primetime in 2022?
Los Angeles Rams (Away)
This is the most no-brainer primetime matchup to schedule for the 49ers. I feel strongly that everyone can come to a consensus that this WILL be in primetime. Whether that is Monday Night Football or Sunday Night Football (I'd bet Sunday), the Rams and 49ers will certainly match up on one of these national slots. The NFC West race comes down to these two teams. Forget the Cardinals and Seahawks. I don't even think the 49ers will face either of them in primetime this season.
The animosity between these two teams needs to be showcased in primetime. In fact, I'd argue to feature them for both home and away games. They are just THAT good of a game to see. Kyle Shanahan who has owned Sean Mcvay for years, yet it is McVay who got the better of him en route to a Super Bowl victory. These two teams have been generating phenomenal matchups since 2019 and I see no reason that it will differ in 2022. Having them in primetime is a guaranteed lock.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Home)
Where the Rams are the No. 1 lock for a primetime slot, the Buccaneers fall shortly after them. Having the 49ers face a Tom Brady lead Buccaneers team after all the rumors and reports about him wanting to join up in San Francisco a couple years ago has to create a primetime matchup between the two. The fact that the two sides are slated to square off in Santa Clara makes it even better. Brady hasn't faced the 49ers since 2016, which was his lone return to face his childhood team.
2022 will make it his second with more buzz considering the 2020 offseason and the rumors swirling around his retirement with the 49ers. I am sure the NFL is licking their chops to revisit that storyline to build up the hype and tension for this primetime battle. Plus, it helps that both of these two teams are pretty darn good. Watching the Buccaneers offense go up against the elite Niners defense is sure to be a juggernaut fight.
Kansas City Chiefs (Home)
Super Bowl 54 was a magnificent matchup. That is something the NFL is going to want to recreate again. Now, the excitement and stakes won't be anywhere near the same, but the point is that the Chiefs and 49ers can generate a great game. This matchup will certainly revisit the Super Bowl 54 storyline between the two teams. It'll be a walk down memory lane for Andy Reid winning his first ever Super Bowl along with Patrick Mahomes.
It can also be a revisit for the 49ers who choked a 10 point lead in the fourth-quarter. Only this time the 49ers will see if they can produce better now that they won't have a limited quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo. Trey Lance can possibly prove that he is a true difference maker if the 49ers beat the Chief, or at least remind people what the 49ers have been missing all these years at quarterback. Regardless, both of these sides produce a high-level matchup that will bring plenty of eyeballs to the television screen.
Los Angeles Chargers (Home)
From one Los Angeles primetime matchup to another. The 49ers versus the Chargers would be a sweet one to catch. For starters, it is in the league's best interest to continue to prop up their Los Angeles teams. The Rams are in a strong position right now in popularity after winning the Super Bowl, but the Chargers are still struggling. A primetime battle with the 49ers is the perfect way to expose them to a higher crowd.
Not to mention the fact that the Chargers are primed to look like an elite team in 2022. Their offense should be able to sustain how great they are with Justin Herbert entering his third-year. And their defense should be drastically improved with the superstar talent they have reeled in with Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson. The Chargers should be playoff contenders, if not in the mix, so it bodes well to schedule a nationally televised game with the 49ers. It is sure to be one that pushes you to their edge of your seat.