The 49ers have faced some pretty significant schedule disadvantages during the 2023 NFL season, but on Sunday, they will finally be the beneficiary of more rest.
San Francisco’s Week 13 clash with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday will be the 49ers’ second and final game with the rest advantage in all 17 games. Their Week 4 win over the Arizona Cardinals followed a few extra days of rest after a 30-12 victory over the New York Giants on “Thursday Night Football” the previous week.
The 49ers’ second Thursday night game, a Thanksgiving win over the Seattle Seahawks, allows them to head to Philadelphia with a few more days of rest than the Eagles. It could be an even more significant advantage after Philadelphia’s defense was on the field for 92 snaps Sunday in their overtime win over the Buffalo Bills.
The extra rest the 49ers enjoyed after returning home from the Pacific Northwest was an anomaly for them but not for their opponents. San Francisco’s 2023 schedule includes or includes four games against opponents (the Arizona Cardinals). All but Week 8 are away games, requiring 49 players to travel, in addition to other handicaps.
The schedule won’t be easy after the 49ers return from Philadelphia, as they’ll host a much-rested Seahawks team on Sunday, which will play Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 13.
In Week 16, the 49ers will be on a short week after a “Monday Night Football” matchup with the Baltimore Ravens at Levi’s Stadium on Christmas. Next week, the 49ers will be back across the country playing the Washington Commanders on New Year’s Day, scheduled to start at 10 a.m. PT.
A Essay on sharp football analysis, charted the difference between all 32 NFL teams and the amount of rest they receive, written after the release of the NFL schedule in late May. Their formula has the 49ers missing a league-high 20 days of rest, making their schedule extremely challenging. In contrast, the Commanders, New York Jets and Chicago Bears have a more substantial advantage when it comes to player rest, 12 days more than their opponents.
Factors other than the schedule affect a team’s success, but it does make a difference. Both Thursday night’s matchups — As the 49ers saw with offensive lineman Spencer Burford in Week 12 and wide receiver Brandon Iuk in Week 3, an injury-plagued player can’t be fit for short weeks.
So, the 49ers have plenty of rest in their favor when they head to Philadelphia, but they’ll need more to take down the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The locker room and coaching staff are well aware of the task at hand, and while San Francisco will take advantage of the three extra days off, it’s relying on other things to leave the East Coast with a 13-week winning streak.