4 ways the NFL screwed San Francisco 49ers with 2024 schedule

Back-to-back road games in Green Bay and Buffalo late in the year?

That's going to be rough for the Niners.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The 49ers' 2024 schedule is tough already, but it's made tougher by these four quirks the NFL sprinkled in.

At least the San Francisco 49ers won't have to travel the most out of any team this year.

According to one report, the Niners will travel the fifth-most miles (24,575) over the course of 2024.

This isn't a shock, given West Coast teams typically travel more than their counterparts on the East Coast. But, with the 2024 NFL schedule now public knowledge, San Francisco still has to overcome some serious challenges over the course of the regular season.

Sure, every team has quirks on its regular-season schedule. The 49ers certainly aren't alone there, and they have to be happy they won't face the toughest strength of schedule either in 2024 despite a first-place finish last season and rematches against every team they played in the postseason last winter.

Still, these four scheduling elements aren't working in the Niners' favor this year.

No. 1: 49ers travel to play Vikings on a short Week 2

San Francisco opens up at home versus the New York Jets on Monday Night Football in Week 1.

Then, however, the 49ers have to travel across two time zones to take on the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium for a 10 a.m. PT kickoff the following Sunday for Week 2.

The Niners haven't won in Minnesota since 1992, and the prospects for doing so on a short week with easterly travel won't make things easier either.

No. 2: 49ers to play 2 Thursday Night Football games... again

Last season, San Francisco had the "fortune" of playing not one but two Thursday Night Football bouts, the first being an early season matchup versus the New York Giants before a Thanksgiving night game on the road against the Seattle Seahawks.

Thankfully, the 49ers won both games in decisive fashion. But, one would think the NFL would give the Niners a break from multiple Thursday night games.


San Francisco is back visiting Seattle on the short week in Week 6 and will then host the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football in Week 15.

At least the two games are spread well apart from each other.

No. 3: Back-to-back late-season road games vs. Packers, Bills

Much of the 49ers' final stretch of the regular season will be tough, but few stretches are as challenging as Weeks 12 and 13 against the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills, respectively.

Both teams are legitimate conference contenders, and having to travel to two cold-weather cities (Green Bay in late November and Buffalo in early December) means inclement weather could easily be a factor.

It'd be one thing if either/both the Packers and Bills were bad.

But, factoring in dirty weather against playoff-caliber squads makes for a tough two-game stretch back to back.

No. 4: 49ers don't benefit from 'rest differential,' play 4 teams coming off byes

A year ago, the Niners had to square off against a number of teams either coming off their bye weeks or having played Thursday nights the week prior.

It's more of the same in 2024, as shared by The Guy Haberman Show:

Haberman later corrected the "rest differential" from minus-16 to minus-22, which is even worse and paints a picture where San Francisco faces plenty of squads that should be very well rested by the time they square off with the 49ers.

Three of the teams the Niners face a significant disadvantage -- the Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys -- are all Super Bowl contenders this season, too.

If there's good news, San Francisco (mostly) overcame that challenge in 2023 en route to an NFC championship.

One can only hope for more of the same in 2024.

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