San Francisco 49ers

49ers leave California twice after midseason and other quirks of the schedule

Some quirks and observations about the 49ers schedule, which was released on Thursday.

* Ten teams were given the maximum of five prime-time games. They are the Cowboys, Packers, Chiefs, Rams, Patriots, Saints, Eagles, Steelers, Seahawks and 49ers. All but one of them had winning records last season. Can you guess which didn't? Kyle Shanahan has made himself hoarse this offseason reminding people that his team went 6-10 in 2017. The schedule makers apparently weren't listening.

* The 49ers have what is tantamount to two byes in the month of November. Their true bye comes in Week 11 on Nov. 19. Their Thursday night game against the Raiders on Nov. 1, which is followed by a Monday night game against the Giants, also gives them 11 days off in between those contests. Both of those games are at Levi's Stadium, meaning the only time the 49ers leave Santa Clara in November is for their Nov. 25 game against the Buccaneers.

* The above quirk, coupled with a road-heavy schedule in the first half of the season, means the 49ers only depart the state of California twice – to Tampa and Seattle – after Oct. 28, which is the midpoint of the season.

* Last year the 49ers played three straight road games – at Arizona, at Indianapolis and at Washington. This year, three teams have a trifecta of road games, including the Rams. They visit the 49ers for the last of those games, a prime-time tilt on Oct. 21. Before you feel too badly for the Rams, none of their road games in that stretch is east of the Rockies (Seattle and Denver are their other destinations). And they have three straight home games before embarking on their tour.

* Each of the 49ers' biggest free-agent additions plays his former team this season. Running back Jerick McKinnon does so Week 1 against the Vikings. Former Chargers Jeremiah Attaochu and Korey Toomer do so in Week 4. Center Weston Richburg faces his old Giants teammates in Week 12. And, of course, cornerback Richard Sherman returns to Seattle in Week 13. Shanahan typically will make a player a team captain if he has some sort of connection to that week's opponent or city. His choices in 2018 ought to be easy.

* The 49ers roughest two-week stretch involves a cross-country flight to Tampa followed by the game in Seattle. If it's any consolation, the Seahawks have nearly as strenuous a trip to play the Carolina Panthers before they host the 49ers. Their trip to Charlotte, N.C., and back is 4,540 miles. The 49ers' round-trip haul to Tampa is 4,720 miles (plus another 696 miles to Seattle).

* The 49ers and Seahawks play each other twice in three weeks (Weeks 13 and 15). Both teams also begin the season with three of the first four games on the road and end it with four of their last five at home.

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