Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports


ESPN ranks 49ers’ schedule among the toughest in 2019

Aug 29, 2019 at 10:29 AM--


NFL schedule makers didn't do the San Francisco 49ers any favors when determining who plays who and when in 2019. Of course, every NFL fan base feels that way when their schedules are first released. There is always something to complain about. But maybe the Niner Faithful have genuine reasons for its criticisms.

The 49ers will kick off the regular season on the road on September 8 with a visit to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That won't be an easy matchup and would have been made easier had it been the home opener in Santa Clara, but it is a winnable game. Then it's off for a visit to the Cincinnati Bengals, which should be an easier opponent.

The 49ers' first game at Levi's Stadium comes in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That will likely be a tough outing.

None of these matchups are reasons why San Francisco's schedule ranks among the toughest in the NFL, though, according to ESPN's recent adjusted ranking compiled by Football Outsiders. It's adjusted because it factors in the timing for each matchup. For example, is your team going against an opponent who is coming off of a bye week? Is your team coming off a bye week itself? Maybe your opponent is coming off of a Thursday-night game and is well-rested. There is a clear advantage in both scenarios. ESPN factored those into this ranking.

The 49ers have the sixth-hardest schedule, according to the adjusted ranking. San Francisco's toughest stretch, per ESPN and Football Outsiders, comes from Weeks 12 through 14 when it plays the Green Bay Packers (coming off their bye), Baltimore Ravens, and New Orleans Saints (coming off a Thursday-night game).

The ESPN feature also notes that the 49ers play two teams coming off bye weeks in the Carolina Panthers (Week 8) and Packers (Week 12), two teams coming off Thursday-night games in the Los Angeles Rams (Week 6) and Saints (Week 14), and play a Thursday-night road game themselves against the Arizona Cardinals (Week 9). Those factors moved the 49ers from the No. 11 spot in average DVOA of opponents to No. 6 in the adjusted ranking.

Click here to read the entire feature at ESPN.



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