The 49ers have some advantages over the Cowboys in the divisional round.
First, the 49ers have two extra days to prepare compared to the Cowboys. Second, the 49ers will play both the wild card game and the division round game at home. The Cowboys had to travel from Tampa to Tampa and then to San Francisco.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was asked by reporters Wednesday if the playoff schedule gives his team an advantage.
“I think it can be an advantage, sometimes it can also be a disadvantage,” Shanahan said. “I know the obvious ones, you get less rest, less time to recover. I love having more time, but sometimes you feel like you can’t play those Thursday night games and you get in and your team is just off the wall because they haven’t slowed down at all.
“And at this point I don’t think it’s about recovery. It’s about details and it’s about execution and it’s about playing at a high level. Once you get to the games, especially in the playoffs, that recovery, people forget pretty quickly, and just look at the Rams last year, they beat the Cardinals as good as anyone, and then they’re all the way to Tampa, and I think they were up 28-0 at halftime, so I don’t think that means anything.”
Despite Shanahan’s efforts to downplay it, it’s definitely an advantage for the 49ers. And that’s okay. They earned it by winning the #2 seed. Circumstances also helped as the number 3 lost to the number 6, prompting the winner of the number 4 to play the number 5 on Sunday after playing on Monday.
It’s an advantage the Cowboys can overcome. But it’s still an advantage.
And the cowboys don’t mind. Because they know that’s one of the realities of the critical relationship between the NFL and television.