, missing a spot-kick of their own in a dramatic battle at the Frankenstadion.
Per Nilsson was given his marching orders minutes before Dominik Kumbela put Braunschweig ahead.
Kumbela was then denied a second from the spot by Schafer before two goals in as many minutes at the start of the second half from Hiroshi Kiyotake and Tomas Pekhart turned the game on its head.
Ermin Bicakcic was next to be denied by Schafer before Kiyotake returned the favour by missing a penalty at the other end, but Nuremberg held on to their fourth win in five games in 2014.
Braunschweig appeared transformed by their 4-2 win over Hamburg last weekend and they certainly showed no fear against their fellow strugglers.
Kumbela had the chance to beat Raphael Schafer in the 15th minute, but he missed the target as Nuremberg suffered their first fright of the afternoon.
The Bavarians were reduced to 10 men after half an hour when Nilsson tripped Havard Nielsen as the last defender, with the Braunschweig forward denied a clear run at goal.
Before the hosts could reorganise their defence, with Ondrej Petrak sent on for Timo Gebhart, they fell behind.
Norman Theuerkauf's corner beat Markus Feulner and was met from close range by Kumbela, who headed Braunschweig in front.
It could have got even worse for Nuremberg five minutes before half-time when Schafer brought down Kumbela inside the penalty area. He was only shown a yellow card and prevented further damage by denying Kumbela from the spot.
Nuremberg could count themselves lucky to be only one goal behind at the break, and to have 10 men still on the field, but their fortunes changed in just two minutes after the break.
First, Kiyotake brought them level with a fine shot from outside the penalty area practically straight from the kick-off.
Pekhart then gave Nuremberg the lead when Josip Drmic saw him completely unmarked and gave him the ball on the edge of the area, from where he beat Marjan Petkovic.
Schafer was not going to be beaten, at least not from the penalty spot, as he once again kept Braunschweig out, this time Bicakcic was the man to be frustrated after Nielsen was brought down inside the area in the 63rd minute.
Nuremberg got a penalty of their own five minutes later, but Kiyotake was denied by Petkovic.
It did not prove to be a costly miss, though, as Gertjan Verbeek's men held on to rise to 12th in the Bundesliga table - their highest position of the season so far.