The 2018 NFL schedule won't be released for a few more months, but with their opponents already known, the San Francisco 49ers have a tough road ahead of them if they want to return to the playoffs after a multi-year absence. They closed 2017 on a five-game winning streak with Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting quarterback, giving the team very high hopes for 2018. These are the four toughest games that will likely stand between the 49ers and a postseason berth:
4) at Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City has won the AFC West two years in a row and is the favorites to win it again in 2018. Arrowhead is an extremely tough place to play, and even though the Chiefs have questions at quarterback with Patrick Mahomes, they have a multitude of weapons on offense and still have a top defense.
3) at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams had the league's best offense in 2017 and should be just as good in their second year under head coach Sean McVay. Todd Gurley is one of the best players in the NFL and LA's high-flying passing attack should test a 49ers defense that was very vulnerable against the pass last season. This will be one of the biggest tests their defense will face all year long.
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2) at Green Bay Packers
The only reason the Packers missed the playoffs this season was because of the injury to Aaron Rodgers, but he'll be back and playing at the elite level we've come to expect from him. He's good enough to win a game by himself, plus Lambeau Field is always one of the toughest places to play at.
1) at Minnesota Vikings
It's no fluke that the Vikings were one of the best teams in the NFL this season. They have quality receivers, a good quarterback in Case Keenum, a dynamic rushing attack (remember, Dalvin Cook will be back and healthy next season) and an absolutely dominant defense. They're an all-around team that will expose any and all weaknesses the 49ers have, making this the 2018's biggest test for San Francisco.