49ers schedule in 2023 has these underlying challenges
By Peter Panacy
While close to ideal, the 49ers schedule for 2023 still has some unique quirks they'll have to overcome.
Here is the full schedule for the San Francisco 49ers in 2023:
- Week 1 -- 49ers @ Steelers: Sunday, Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. ET
- Week 2 -- 49ers @ Rams: Sunday, Sept. 17 at 4:05 p.m. ET
- Week 3 -- Giants @ 49ers: Thursday, Sept. 21 at 8:15 p.m. ET (Thursday Night Football)
- Week 4 -- Cardinals @ 49ers: Sunday, Oct. 1 at 4:25 p.m. ET
- Week 5 -- Cowboys @ 49ers: Sunday, Oct. 8 at 8:20 p.m. ET (Sunday Night Football)
- Week 6 -- 49ers @ Browns: Sunday, Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. ET
- Week 7 -- 49ers @ Vikings: Monday, Oct. 23 at 8:15 p.m. ET (Monday Night Football)
- Week 8 -- Bengals @ 49ers: Sunday, Oct. 29 at 4:25 p.m. ET
- Week 9 -- BYE
- Week 10 -- 49ers @ Jaguars: Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. ET
- Week 11 -- Buccaneers @ 49ers: Sunday, Nov. 19 at 4:05 p.m. ET
- Week 12 -- 49ers @ Seahawks: Thursday, Nov. 23 at 8:15 p.m. ET (Thursday Night Football)
- Week 13 -- 49ers @ Eagles: Sunday, Dec. 3 at 4:25 p.m. ET
- Week 14 -- Seahawks @ 49ers: Sunday, Dec. 10 at 4:05 p.m. ET
- Week 15 -- 49ers @ Cardinals: Sunday, Dec. 17 at 4:05 p.m. ET
- Week 16 -- Ravens @ 49ers: Monday, Dec. 25 at 8:15 p.m. ET (Monday Night Football)
- Week 17 -- 49ers @ Commanders: Sunday, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. ET
- Week 18 -- Rams @ 49ers: Saturday or Sunday, Jan. 6 or 7
On the surface, it looks like a very preferable slate of regular-season games. Sure, the Niners have to face off against top Super Bowl-contending opponents like the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals.
But, for the most part, there aren't too many negatives to complain about. Maybe two Thursday Night Football games instead of one, but the first one takes place in Week 3 at a point where San Francisco should still be very fresh.
A midseason bye week is also ideal, and the 49ers only have one road trip with back-to-back games in non-Pacific Time time zones (Weeks 6 and 7).
So, what's the problem?
Turns out, there's a unique challenge the Niners will have with their schedule this upcoming season, and it involves bye weeks.
49ers are tied for playing most teams coming off a bye week
Brian Burke from ESPN's Stats & Information shared an interesting tidbit about NFL schedules this year.
Turns out, San Francisco is tied with two other clubs for playing the most opponents who are coming off a bye week this season, the others being the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams:
And that led to Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr listing the 49ers as one of those who "got screwed" by schedule makers this season:
"The 49ers, according to ESPN analytics, are tied for the most games this season against clubs coming off a bye week. Per the same metrics, they own the worst rest differential in the NFL on a game-by-game basis. In addition, they are also the second-most traveled team in the NFL, behind Seattle."
Granted, the Niners are usually toward the tops as far as most-traveled teams, but that's the nature of squads from the West Coast.
Hopefully for San Francisco, other teams' bye weeks lead to more rust and not so much rest when they play the 49ers.