The San Francisco 49ers’ bye week is this week, and it could have not arrived at a better time for the team. To see where they will head in the second half of the season, we have to examine where they have been and how they got to this point.
49ers Bye Week: First Half Analysis
The first half of the season has been an injury-riddled roller coaster for San Francisco. The 49ers bye week could not come at a more perfect time. With injuries to star impact players like starting quarterback Trey Lance, running back Elijah Mitchell, safety Jimmie ward, and defensive tackle Arik Armstead, to name a few, injury issues are the main storyline for the 49ers during the first half of the season.
Heading into the 49ers’ bye week, they are 4-4, in second place in the NFC West, and are in a perfect position to start the second half of the season. They are undefeated in games against their division rivals, and swept the season series against the defending Super Bowl Champions. If they can get healthy, they will be a force to be reckoned with in the second half of the season.
49ers Bye Week Objective: Health
The 49ers’ bye week main goal is to get most of their impact players back on the field for the second half of the season. The only way they will be successful after the 49ers bye week is if they are able to achieve their goal of an NFC west division title. The only way that happens is if they have their key players back from injury on the field during the second half of the season. Keep an eye out for impact players like Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings, Elijah Mitchell, Kyle Juszczyk, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, Azeez Al-Shaair, Dre Greenlaw, and Jason Verrett to return to the practice field during the 49ers bye week.
It will be interesting to see after the 49ers bye week how head coach Kyle Shanahan will utilize Christian McCaffrey, with complete knowledge of the offensive playbook, on the field with offensive weapons like Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, Elijah Mitchell, and Juszczyk all healthy and engaged during the second half of the season.
After the 49ers’ Bye Week
After the 49ers bye week they return home and have a date with Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers in a highly anticipated matchup. The 49ers’ second-half schedule favors them immensely because six of their nine games are at home. The farthest they have to travel is Mexico City to play the Arizona Cardinals in a home game and Las Vegas, Nevada when they face the Raiders on New Year’s Day.
Because they can spend the majority of their time at home, sleeping in their beds and at home, the travel schedule is critical for the 49ers’ success in the second half of the season. They don’t have to get on a plane, fly thousands of miles to play on the east coast, and put more stress and miles on their bodies. As a result of their travel schedule, they should be refreshed and energized for the playoff push in the second half of the season.
There are vital divisional games to keep an eye on during the second half of the season. Two games with the Arizona Cardinals, weeks 11 & 18, and the final matchup with the NFC West division leader Seattle Seahawks in Seattle in week 15 on Thursday night football only seen on Amazon Prime Video. These matchups will significantly determine the fate of the 49ers’ season. If the 49ers can finish the season undefeated or with only one loss in division play, they will be in great shape to win the NFC west division and secure home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.
49ers Big Picture
The 49ers have done many good things during the first half of this season, pressure the quarterback on defense, run the ball effectively with multiple players, and win critical divisional games. Some areas need to improve, including offensive line protection and secondary defensive coverage, but the most critical factor that needs to improve during the second half for the 49ers is the ability to stay healthy.
As mentioned earlier, if during the 49ers bye week they can get their impact players back on the field and stay healthy throughout the second half of the season, with the amount of star power they have on both sides of the ball, they will be a nightmare matchup for anyone they face on the field.
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