The San Francisco 49ers are 2-9 heading into Week 13, and there is a better than even chance they finish the season 2-14. They could spring one or two upsets along the way, but their schedule gets significantly more difficult these final games compared to their recent stretch.
San Francisco currently holds the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, but being tied for the worst record in the league does not tell the whole story. We know about the losses of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon, as well as numerous other injuries since the start of the season. But the team has remained competitive more often than not. And it reflects in their point differential.
The 49ers, Cardinals, and Raiders are all 2-9, but the 49ers have a point differential of -54, compared to Arizona's -138 and Oakland's -140.— Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin) November 28, 2018
The 49ers aren't great, but they probably aren't as bad as we think
The 49ers rank ahead of the Dolphins, Jets, Bengals, Bills, Cardinals, and Raiders in point differential. They are three points behind the New York Giants. Odds are pretty good they take a hit this weekend against Seattle, but if they can give the Seahawks a fight, they’ll likely remain in the seven to ten range among worst point differentials.
This is a bit of a moral victory in an otherwise lost season. The 49ers rank 21st in points scored and tied for 26th in points allowed. Nobody is here to say they are a good football team, but I would like to think people would recognize they are not among the very worst teams in the league.
Of course, the next five games might tell us otherwise. The 49ers have played plenty of tough opponents, but they are coming off a three-game stretch against some awful football teams (OAK, NYG, TB). They struggled to a 1-2 record against those teams, which tells us something about this squad. The next five games could tell us a lot more. Seattle ranks 11th in point differential, Denver ranks 15th, Chicago ranks fourth, and the Rams rank third. Using Football Outsiders team efficiency stat, Seattle ranks 11th, Denver ranks sixth, Chicago ranks fifth, and LA ranks second. Suffice to say, they’re all tough opponents.
The 49ers currently have a point differential of -54. If the Rams end up playing all their starters in Week 17, that’s mostly good defenses, and a few good offenses. Could we see the 49ers’ point differential double up between now and the end of the season?