While the Oakland Raiders are set to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers are taking some time off to relax. No, that doesn't mean they're about to play the Miami Dolphins, the Indianapolis Colts or the St. Louis Rams, it means they've reached their bye week and they're not going to be playing on Sunday, though they will probably get as much of a workout while resting as they would if they took on one of those three.
No, it's a week of rest and recovery, and it's much-needed. Of course, it's hard to call something much-needed when the team is 5-1 and sole owner of first place in the NFC West, but they do have one key player they hope to have back from injury after the bye week is over: wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
Edwards had to get surgery earlier in the season and has missed the team's last four games, but had given himself the timetable of returning following the team's bye week early on. The team also just placed receiver Josh Morgan on injured reserve and the team is hurting at the position. If Edwards makes it back, he'll take over Ted Ginn Jr.'s spot as the starter and line up opposite Michael Crabtree.
The 49ers are likely riding an emotional high into this bye week greater than any in recent seasons, as the 5-1 start is the team's best since 1998. They have to be more confident than ever, considering the sorry state of their division and the fact that they've only played the Seattle Seahawks once (a win) and haven't played any of the other teams in it, yet. The Rams are 0-5, the Seahawks are 2-3 in second place and the Arizona Cardinals are 1-4. And the 49ers have five games combined against the three still on their schedule.
Three straight road wins, a beatdown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a comeback win against the Philadelphia Eagles highlight the 49ers season to date. Oh, and breaking the Detroit Lions' unbeaten streak is an awfully good plus, too. As it stands, Alex Smith is leading like a true quarterback, even if he doesn't always have great stats, and the rushing attack from Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter are bruising. The defense has been shutting down offenses with the help of rookie Aldon Smith, who is emerging as a defensive rookie of the year candidate.
Yes, things are good heading into the bye week.