In our minds, the San Francisco 49ers are much-improved. Despite a sloppy start against Tampa Bay, the Niners were able to put the Buccaneers away after forcing turnovers. It’s safe to say that the team doesn’t win this game last year. What about the outside world? What are they saying about the 49ers?
NFL.com released their latest power rankings, and the 49ers are up five spots and have cracked the top-20. They have San Francisco at No. 19:
Previous rank: No. 24
The 49ers are back in the turnover business on defense. They had four on Sunday against the Buccaneers, using those big plays to secure a 31-17 win over the Bucs in Tampa. Last season, San Francisco set NFL records for fewest turnovers created (seven) and interceptions (two). They picked off Jameis Winston three times in Week 1, running two of those picks back for touchdowns. If only the Niners could have the error-prone Winston on the schedule every week. Jimmy Garoppolo was OK in his first start since undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last October, bouncing back after an early pick-six. His lone touchdown pass came on a pretty 39-yard strike to wide receiver Richie James, but Jimmy G did most of his work short of the sticks. You’d like to see more variety in the offense moving forward, and you suspect that will happen as Garoppolo knocks off the rust post-surgery.
Not to get your hopes up, but Andy Dalton was sacked four times last Sunday and had four passes batted at the line of scrimmage. He also is known to put the ball in harm’s way, not to mention losing a costly fumble to end the game.
Now that your hopes are up, it’d be nice to play Winston every week, but four turnovers every game is just us living a fairy-tale. I’ll take an average of 1.5 turnovers a game. The offense will face a stiffer test this week. The Bengals sacked Russell Wilson four times and hit him an additional five times. They did give up big plays, though. I’m interested to see if Garoppolo is “okay” once again, and how the game-plan changes. When in doubt, throw it to George Kittle.
It’s tough to complain about being ranked No. 19. The 49ers are trending in the right direction, and hopefully, that continues.
As for the rest of the NFC West, the Rams stayed put at No. 2, where NFL.com says “Jared Goff wasn’t overly sharp.” The Rams probably should have lost to the Panthers, but good teams prevail, and that’s what they did. The Seahawks squeaked by the Bengals with a one-point victory, after being double-digit favorites. They didn’t have any business winning that one. Oddly enough, they climbed a spot to No. 8. The Cardinals, who came back dramatically against the Lions—only to tie—climbed one spot to No. 30. The Bengals rose six spots to No. 24. Yay, power rankings!
Josh did a great job with his version of power rankings. Check those out.