Ranked quarterback set to duel Trey Lance in 2022 NFL season

Which quarterback stands between the 49ers and their elusive sixth Lombardi Trophy?

Joe the opposing quarterback, ie.

Trey Lance, the expected successor to Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers, will begin a new rivalry with his counterparts this coming season. He will be the underdog or up-and-comer almost every week.

Once he reaches the playoffs next January or in future years, he’ll emerge an arch-nemesis, a la “Brady vs. Manning.” Or, in the language of the 49ers, “Young vs. Aikman” and “Montana vs. Sims.”

This season’s schedule features a mix of proven superstars, mid-of-the-pack QBs and second-chance travelers. Here’s what presents the toughest matchup per category, not necessarily for Lance but for the 49ers’ defense:

super bowl winners

Category Criteria: Those who have won the Lombardi Trophy – or seven – and have valid threats to add one more.

tom brady (box, week 14)

The paternal son of San Mateo came out of a short-term retirement to play at the age of 45. His 23rd NFL season will take place on December 11 in his fifth-to-last game at Levi’s Stadium. This is not the time to get emotional for anyone. By the way, Brady has won 80 percent in early December.

Russell Wilson (Broncos, Week 3)

Nothing like their ol’ NFC West rival for the humble things. The 49ers must be 2–0 (Chicago, v. Seattle) before Wilson’s new team tours in Denver for “Sunday Night Football” on September 25. 2013 season en route to his only Super Bowl win.

Patrick Mahomes (major, week 7)

Mahomes and Lance won championships in the 2019 season – Mahomes vs. 49ers in Super Bowl XLIV, and Lance vs. James Madison in the NCAA Football Championship subdivision title game a month ago. If the 49ers lead the game and Mahomes faces third and 15th, he will not be able to target Tyrek Hill (trade in Miami).

Matthew Stafford (RAMS, week 4/8)

He and the Super Bowl champion Rams sent the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game, but were only kept alive by a dropped interception by Jacquiewski Tart after returning in the fourth quarter. Stafford had two passes intercepted in both regular season losses for the 49ers.

winless wonders

Category Criteria: Highly respected quarterback who has not yet won a playoff debut.

Derek Carey (Raiders, Week 17)

The 49ers’ first visit to Vegas falls in the final week of the season, so a non-conference matchup may not affect the playoff race. Carr strangled the 49ers as a 2014 rookie, then was walloped by Nick Mullens on a 2018 Thursday night, and now he has college teammate and star wideout Davante Adams.

Justin Herbert (Charger, week 10)

The 49ers will be coming out of their goodbyes, while Herbert and the forever exasperated Chargers are coming out of a cross-country game in Atlanta. Herbert won the Pac-12 Conference Championship at Levi’s Stadium in 2019 as an Oregon senior. Their return will be the undercard of the Bossa brothers’ story in this game.

Carson Wentz (Commanders, week 16)

He is 3-0 against the Shanahan-coached 49ers, now trying to beat them for a third consecutive season for several different franchises (Eagles, Colts, Commanders). Yes, Wentz won a Super Bowl but he was on injured reserve in the 2017 Eagles’ playoff run.

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Category Criteria: The dual-threat quarterback whose trouble-avoiding ability could prove difficult to dismiss, as has been troublesome defending past 49ers.

kyler murray (Cardinals, Week 11/18)

A pro bowler in two out of three seasons, he is 2-3 against 49. He is up for a new contract after leaving the voluntary off-season program. His Cardinals “hosted” the 49ers in Mexico City on November 21, then Levi’s has a rematch in Week 18.

Justin Fields (Bear, week 1)

The 49ers overtook him in the draft, then beat him on October 30 with the help of two Garoppolo touchdown runs. This season’s opener at Soldier Field could offer a more dynamic field under new coach Matt Eberfluss.

Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins, week 13)

New coach Mike McDaniel, formerly Kyle Shanahan’s top assistant, should know by this December 5 how to maximize (or minimize) Tagovailoa, who is looking more explosive after a 2019 hip injury. Over the course of two seasons, he had only 237 rushing yards, as well as 20 sacks (23 games) in each season. He’ll need to make more moves against the 49ers front.

second chance club

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