Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Why names 49ers-Dolphins among its top 10 games of 2022

May 5, 2022 at 3:14 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers face the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams twice. They also face the Raiders for the first time since the latter left the Bay Area for Las Vegas. The two once-local rivals will play at Allegiant Stadium.

The 49ers also host briefly-retired Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Every time the Niners face Brady, fans are treated (said sarcastically) to stories about how the future Hall of Fame quarterback loved the Bay Area team growing up and dreamed of playing for the 49ers. He has won seven Super Bowls since. Or, more recently, how the Niners passed on signing Brady in 2020. The quarterback went on to win that seventh Super Bowl that season.

None of those matchups are's most anticipated involving the 49ers, though. That honor belongs to head coach Mike McDaniel visiting Levi's Stadium as an opponent. The Miami Dolphins hired the former 49ers offensive coordinator as their head coach this offseason. So this matchup features head coach Kyle Shanahan going against his longtime protégé.

"Mike McDaniel rose from 49ers offensive whiz kid to head coach of the Dolphins in a rather short span of time, and he'll face his old squad and boss in Kyle Shanahan in 2022," wrote Nick Shook. "McDaniel is tasked with turning Tua Tagovailoa into a franchise quarterback and will run into one of his greatest tests as a novice head coach when he meets the club that knows him best. Will Miami's busy offseason and new-look offense be enough to outperform DeMeco Ryans' defense at Levi's Stadium? Or will the mentor get the best of the mentee?"

"New-look" might be an understatement. McDaniel and the Dolphins have been aggressive this offseason in collecting talent. The team traded for speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill, bolstered their O-line with three-time Pro Bowler Terron Armstead and Connor Williams, added quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as a presumed backup to Tagovailoa, and signed running backs Chase Edmonds and former Niner Raheem Mostert.

And it's not just McDaniel who will be returning to Levi's Stadium. The new head coach took former 49ers assistants Jon Embree and Wes Welker with him to Miami.

It will certainly be an interesting matchup as McDaniel looks to prove himself against the organization that helped in his quick rise to fame. For the 49ers, everyone is eager to see the progress of second-year quarterback Trey Lance, who, despite Jimmy Garoppolo still being on the roster right now, is the presumed starter.

As for when the 49ers-Dolphins matchup will occur, we won't learn that for another week. The NFL releases the 2022 schedule on May 12.

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