The NFL is officially quarter of the way through the season for 30 of 32 teams, and we are starting to get a handle on who is good and who is bad. We don’t have final answers yet, but some unexpected and expected results are arriving.
Earlier today, I put together my Week 5 NFL power rankings. I dropped the San Francisco 49ers to No. 28 after another near victory. They sit at 0-4, continuing to struggle with that knockout blow that could earn them their first win. That being said, there are some awful teams that deserve to be behind them. I have the Indianapolis Colts ranked No. 31. If they beat the 49ers, regardless of how the game turns out, I suppose then I’ll have to move Indy up a bit.
Once again, I took a look at numerous Week 5 NFL power rankings to see how people view the 49ers. They are losing games, but in competitive fashion. I took a look at 11 power rankings from various media. They include some national media and some of our blogs. The 49ers are sitting in the 29-31 range, but none are prepared to drop them behind the winless Cleveland Browns. It’s a sort of odd area to be in right now. They’re competitive but not winning games. People recognize the rebuilding process going on, but at the same time see a team not winning games. You have to balance what they’re doing with where they’re hoping to go in the coming weeks, months, and years.
Here are 11 sets of NFL power rankings to check out for Week 5.
The 49ers, Chargers and Giants all came really close to picking up a win, but all landed at 0-4 anyway. The Browns didn’t come anywhere near beating the Bengals in a 31-7 loss. Is it actually possible that Cleveland is getting worse?
The 1992 Chargers are the only team to ever start 0-4 and land in the playoffs, but don’t expect any miracles this year. It’s a wrap.
The 49ers haven’t won a game this year but I’m moving them up because they’ve played some real close games. San Fran “only” has the league’s sixth worst point differential.
The Niners are here by virtue of their 0-4 record and their recent perennial badness. This ranking reflects mostly that their playoff hopes are dead for all practical purposes and that they’re looking at more of the same in a learning/rebuilding year. Though they’ve lost all three of their last three games by three points or less. There’s hope, at least.
That said, how pathetic is your team when you kill off seven & a half minutes of a 10 minute overtime in hopes of what would probably just be a tie at best?
The 49ers are building for the future. The good news is all the young pass-rushers San Francisco has drafted appear to be paying off. The Niners are pressuring quarterbacks at the sixth-highest rate through four weeks. They did so at the fifth-lowest rate last season. Progress.
Last Week’s Rank: 31
Points in MMQB Power Poll: 38
Highest-Place Vote: 28th
Last-Place Votes: 1 (Jones)
Last Week’s Result: Loss at Arizona, 18-15 (OT)
Week 5 Opponent: at Indianapolis
The defense showed improvement against Arizona, but the offense still seems limited. It's going to be a long season.
The progress through the first month of football hasn't translated to a win. The 49ers are getting closer. In Week 2, San Francisco gave the division bully Seahawks all they could handle. In Week 3, the 49ers lost to the Rams in the wildest contest 2017 has yet proffered. On Sunday, it took the Cardinals almost 75 minutes to topple Kyle Shanahan's group. Too many Niner drives stalled in Arizona territory. Field goals = field losses.
The Niners are more competitive than anyone had a right to expect them to be. They simply can’t find a way to actually win.
What happened to the offense that scored 39 points against the Rams? That was the third straight hard-fought, close game the 49ers lost. That can get disheartening in a hurry.
The 49ers have played four games and they've finished three of them without a touchdown. While fellow newbie Sean McVay is having a blast in L.A., Kyle Shanahan and his team is slumping big time. At least Robbie Gould is nailing all of his field goals!
The San Francisco 49ers do a lot of positive things offensively. The offense is able to move the ball at times. The problem is that Brian Hoyer isn't a quarterback who can consistently get the ball into the end zone.
Defensively, San Francisco has a sound unit. Coordinator Robert Saleh has it playing physical football, particularly up front. We saw that Sunday, as the 49ers defensive line made life rough for quarterback Carson Palmer and completely shut down the Arizona Cardinals running game.
There are pieces in place here, but the 49ers are going to struggle to pull out tight games—as we saw against the Cardinals. Hoyer and the offense drove down the field in overtime but had to settle for a field goal. The secondary then surrendered enough big plays for the Cardinals to march down the field and answer with a game-winning touchdown before the clock ran out.
The 49ers had chances to put the game away before overtime. The bottom line, however, is that Hoyer misses too many routine NFL throws for the team to put games away early. That's going to cost the 49ers all season long.