Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Late kickoff for 49ers-Packers could benefit George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders

Nov 20, 2019 at 1:05 PM--

Sunday's matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers was flexed from an afternoon kickoff into primetime. The game has significant playoff implications with the winner potentially taking control of the NFC and the conference's best record.

It may not seem like much, but the added four hours of preparation will also benefit the 49ers' injured players. Among those players are tight end George Kittle (knee, ankle), and wide receivers Deebo Samuel (shoulder) and Emmanuel Sanders (ribs), none of whom will practice on Wednesday.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters before Wednesday's practice and discussed what playing on primetime means for him and his team.

"It's always good when you feel like everyone's watching you," Shanahan said. "I think guys are used to the national (games), but for me, it's different when you know every coach and every player is watching in the league. I think that's really cool when all your peers get to sit back and watch.

"Besides that, I'm just glad we've got four more hours for Kittle, and Deebo, and Emmanuel to rest and recover."

Shanahan was serious about that last part. Do four more hours really make that big of a difference? The coach believes they do.

"When you have a lot of guys that are banged up, the later [kickoff] can be the better," Shanahan added. "I think it's a little harder to get going early in the morning. If it was an East Coast Monday-night game, it would probably be the best, except I wouldn't want to travel and be on the road.

"But the longer our guys can have, the better. Our guys need it right now."

The 49ers and Packers kick off from Levi's Stadium on Sunday at 5:20 p.m. PT.

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