How the 2024 NFL Schedule Hurts the San Francisco 49ers

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Warren Sharp’s rest disparity analysis of the 2024 NFL Schedule. Click here to read the full article.

For the second straight year, the 49ers have been hosed based on the timing of their games.

Last year, their net rest edge ranked #32 with a -20-day margin.

They had four games with a net rest edge of three days or worse.

They won just two of those four despite being favored in all four games by an average of over 10 points. And they covered the spread in just one of the four.

This year, unfairly, they’re back where they were in 2023.

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The 49ers have a net rest edge of -21 days. It’s the worst net rest differential in the last decade and #6 largest since 1990.

They play an unprecedented eight games with a rest disadvantage (nearly 50% of their schedule), the most games in a season in NFL history.

When looking only at games with negative rest edge, the 49ers have an unbelievable -32 days total negative rest edge, the most in the NFL.

I went back to 1990 and found no team with more than 32 days of a disadvantage in any NFL schedule.

The 49ers play seven games against teams who have extra time to rest and prepare for the game.

Since 1994, only a total of those teams in those 31 years played at least seven games in a season where their opponent had extra prep.

The 49ers also must play three short-week road games, tied for the most in the NFL.

What is particularly brutal for the 49ers is the timing of their games coupled with the opponents.

From Week 7 on, the 49ers play the NFL’s #4 most difficult schedule of opponents.

And during that span, they are at a rest disadvantage in 6 of those 11 games:

  • Week 7 vs. Kansas City when KC is coming off their bye week
  • Week 8 vs. Dallas when DAL is coming off their bye week
  • Week 11 vs. Seattle when SEA is coming off their bye week
  • Week 13 vs. Buffalo when BUF is coming off their bye week
  • Week 14 vs. Chicago when CHI is coming off a mini-bye
  • Week 18 vs. Arizona when ARI has extra rest with SF coming off MNF

I went back in my database to 1990, and there is no team with more games at a rest disadvantage from Week 7 on than the 49ers’ six games.

And six games only happened to three teams in the 35 years since 1990.

The 49ers’ four games against teams coming off a bye is tied for the most in the 35 years since 1990 with only two other teams.

Games late in the season are the most difficult to play at a rest disadvantage.