San Francisco will get much-needed BYE Week after this Sunday’s game, which could allow for some key players to return for the stretch drive of the season. Trent Williams and Brandon Aiyuk will be back against the Saints, while Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne and Raheem Mostert all have a chance to suit up in the Big Easy as well.
ESPN has the 49ers 17th (down two spots from last week)
Recalibrated expectation: Play meaningful December games
Once a favorite to return to the Super Bowl, there’s not a team in the league that looks so different now than it did entering the season. The injury-ravaged 49ers simply don’t have the healthy, available talent to make another run deep into the postseason, and the schedule isn’t going to lighten for them the rest of the way. Which means they would do well to try to make a run at an 8-8 record and remain on the periphery for the final wild-card spot.
NFL.com has the 49ers 20th (down three spots from last week)
Sometimes, it’s just not your year. The 49ers came tantalizingly close to beating the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, and now they’re staring down a 2020 season where they could be playing out the string by Thanksgiving. Rotten injury luck has been at the core of San Francisco’s problems, and you saw how overmatched this compromised roster was during Thursday night’s 34-17 loss to the Packers. Ten months earlier, it was Kyle Shanahan’s team laying a whipping on Matt LaFleur’s squad on a national stage in the NFC Championship Game. Such is the cruel nature of sports, where coming close one year guarantees not a damn thing in the season that follows.
CBS Sports has the 49ers 27th (down 10 spots from last week)
They just don’t have enough good players anymore. As good as Kyle Shanahan is as coach, he can’t fix this.
USA TODAY has the 49ers 25th (down 10 spots from last week)
WR Richie James had more receiving yards (184) in Week 9 than his total output in either of his first two seasons.
Yahoo has the 49ers 19th (down two spots from last week)
It’s hard to do a fair analysis of the 49ers. Their lineup last week against the Packers didn’t resemble what they should be playing. Injuries and now COVID-19 issues have ravaged the roster. It looks like a lost season.
Bleacher Report has the 49ers 20th (down three spots from last week)
There’s a relatively long track record of teams losing a Super Bowl and then struggling the following season. But what has happened to the San Francisco 49ers in 2020 is unprecedented.
Injuries have ravaged the Niners. During Thursday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, they didn’t field a single player who gained a yard in last year’s NFC Championship Game.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was out. So was tight end George Kittle, running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman and wide receivers Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne and Brandon Aiyuk.
Nine games into the season, the 49ers are in last place in the brutal NFC West. And the schedule isn’t doing them any favors. Five of their final seven games are against teams with a winning record, including trips to New Orleans and Los Angeles and a home date with the Buffalo Bills over the next three weeks.
Don’t be surprised if the defending NFC champions are 4-8 when Washington comes to visit on December 13.
Here is where the rest of the NFC West teams are ranked: