49ers’ 2023 Schedule Features the NFL’s Worst Rest Differential: Report

San Francisco 49ers

Getty Brock Purdy handing off the ball to Deebo Samuel during the San Francisco 49ers game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

With the 2023 NFL season officially released, fans of the San Francisco 49ers now know who their favorite team will play and in which week they will play them. While the specific opponents Kyle Shanahan’s team will face in 2023 aren’t too much of a surprise, as the strength of schedule and slate of AFC opponents was determined months and years ago, respectively, what is news is where and when each game will be played, which, according to the staff at Warren Sharp’s Sharp Football Analytics, is not good news for the Niners, as they the biggest negative rest differential of any team in the league.

“The San Francisco 49ers stand out as the team that was negatively impacted the most. They have a negative 20-day net rest edge,” Sharp’s staff shared.

Taking a step back to look at the rest of the NFC West, the Rams actually come in with the second-worst rest differential at -17, with Seattle faring slightly better at -4, and Arizona the owners of the lone positive rest differential at +5. Subject to slight changes at the end of the season, the Cardinals are currently slated to have just one game with a -3 rest disadvantage, which is a stark contrast to San Francisco and Los Angeles, who both have three disparities of seven games or longer.

The San Francisco 49ers Have One Key Rest Advantage

Despite landing a grueling schedule, the 49ers do have two games where they have the rest advantage, including one contest later in the season where they will be afforded a chance at redemption in an NFC Championship rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“They get two games with rest advantage: Week 4 vs the Cardinals follows a ‘mini-bye’ off a Week 3 San Francisco home game on Thursday Night, and Week 13 at the Eagles features an extra three days of rest and prep as the 49ers play Thanksgiving night in Week 12,” Sharp’s staff wrote.

Like the 49ers, the Eagles have one of the tougher schedules in the NFL in terms of rest, with a -6 rest differential and just one game with a +3 advantage, coming in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though they do have a Bye in Week 10, the Eagles have to face the Kansas City Chiefs in KC on Monday Night Football in Week 11 and then the Buffalo Bills at 4:25 EST in Week 12 at home before welcoming the 49ersbut not Mandy Shanahan – in Week 13.

The 2023 NFL Season Has an Unprecedented Rest Disparity

As Warren Sharp pointed out on his Twitter account and had his staff extrapolate on in the story on their website, the NFL has assembled a schedule that is historically unbalanced, with teams like the 49ers earning the worst of it.

In 2021, we saw 85 games played with a rest disparity between teams. That rose to 93 games in 2022. This year, it has increased to 95 games.

We have a team totaling 28 days of rest disadvantage (most in several years) while another team has zero games with a rest disadvantage.

We have a team totaling 17 days of rest advantage (most in several years) while another team plays zero games with a rest advantage. The total straddle has increased by 45% compared to last year.

Increasingly, the NFL schedule has created haves and have-nots when it comes to rest and prep time, and those differences affect the outcome on the field.

Is there a way for the NFL to balance the schedule out in the future? Potentially so, but as Sharp pointed out, things are getting worse, not better, with teams like the Chiefs, Eagles, and 49ers, three teams vying for a spot in the Super Bowl, all landing on the wrong side of the rest differential.

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