49ers' 2021 NFL season could be defined by this five-game stretch

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This five-game stretch could make or break 49ers' season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers’ schedule could largely be seen as favorable.

The biggest challenge the schedule-maker threw at the 49ers is playing a quick-turnaround Thursday night game in Nashville on Dec. 23.

With just three days between games, teams generally would rather play against a familiar opponent with little travel involved. But the 49ers will be facing the Tennessee Titans, which includes a flight of more than four hours and two time zones away.

The most-challenging stretch of the schedule, however, comes during a five-game stretch from Nov. 7 through Dec. 5. The 49ers face each of their NFC West rivals at the portion of the schedule which could determine the fate of the season.

Even the one “gimme” during that stretch is complicated because of a short week, an early kickoff time and a cross-country flight.

The 49ers open the pivotal block of games with matchups against the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium on Nov. 7 and No. 15.

The Cardinals play a Thursday night game against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8, which provides them with three additional days of recovery and preparation time for facing the 49ers.

The 49ers and Rams meet in Week 10 on Monday night.

RELATED: Maiocco: 49ers' game-by-game predictions for 17-game slate

The 49ers turn around on a short week to travel to Jacksonville on Nov. 21 with a 10 a.m. start.

Then, they finish off the five-game stretch at home against the Minnesota Vikings before going to Seattle for a Dec. 5 game on Sunday Night Football.

After that point in the season, the 49ers play only one more NFC West game in the final five games of the season. That comes in the final week of the regular season, when the 49ers travel to Los Angeles for a Jan. 9 return game against the Rams.

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