The San Francisco 49ers have fallen down the NFL pecking order after their recent slide. The Niners have lost five out of their last six outings and sit 5-8 going into the final three games of the season.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan is exploring his options at quarterback after Nick Mullens struggled yet again the Niners’ Week 14 loss to the Washington Football Team. C.J. Beathard could get the call this Sunday with San Francisco’s playoff hopes hangings by a thread.
No one could have expected all of the things that went wrong for the 49ers in 2020. The team leads the league in man games lost to injury and at one point had more than $80 million in salary sitting on injured reserve.
If the season ended today, San Francisco would have the No. 12 overall pick at the 2021 NFL Draft.
Here are the latest NFL power rankings from some of the major media outlets going into Week 15:
ESPN has the 49ers 19th (down one spot from last week)
It speaks volumes about the 49ers’ coaching staff that they have been able to squeeze these types of rankings out of a team that has been ravaged by injury all season. But the Niners still have a losing record, despite the generally strong overall rankings, because of the team’s inconsistency and turnover problems. Those are largely the product of the many injuries, which have made it hard for San Francisco to string together victories and stay in the NFC playoff picture.
NFL.com has the 49ers 21st (down one spot from last week)
The 49ers’ adopted home confines in Arizona have been anything but friendly. San Francisco dropped to 0-2 at State Farm Stadium after a 23-15 loss to Washington that crippled the team’s playoff hopes. The latest setback falls on an offense that couldn’t make enough impact plays and was unable to avoid catastrophic turnovers. Nick Mullens lost a fumble late in the first half that was returned for a 47-yard touchdown by Chase Young. Mullens coughed up six more points in the second half when he threw a pick-six to Kamren Curl. The Niners are up to 25 turnovers this season (second-most in the NFL), and they became just the third team to lose a game this season when not allowing a scrimmage touchdown. One of those years.
CBS Sports has the 49ers 21st (down two spots from last week)
The injuries seem to have finally caught up to this team. They are all but done. The Super Bowl hangover is complete.
USA TODAY has the 49ers 16th (down two spots from last week)
After they dropped two games in Arizona, NFL teams playing “home” games at alternate sites are now 1-6 since the 1970 merger. As former Niners coach Steve Mariucci would say, “Bummer.”
Bleacher Report has the 49ers 24th (down three spots from last week)
The San Francisco 49ers’ 2020 season can best be summed up in two words: injuries galore. Their Week 14 loss to the Washington Football Team was no exception. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel tweaked his hamstring on the game’s first play and didn’t return.
However, Samuel’s quick exit wasn’t the only reason that the San Fran offense struggled against Washington. With Jimmy Garoppolo out, Nick Mullens has been tasked with filling in under center. He was a mess against Washington, committing a pair of turnovers that were returned for touchdowns.
At 5-8, the Niners no longer have a real chance of making a return to the playoffs. At this point, the defending NFC champions are doing little more than playing out the string. And with games still to go against the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks, a sub-.500 season is much more likely than not.
Pro Football Talk has the 49ers 21st (same spot as last week)
The quarterback position is killing the 49ers.
Here is how the rest of the NFC West teams are ranked:
Los Angeles Rams: ESPN (No. 6), NFL.com (No. 6), CBS Sports (No. 8), USA TODAY (No. 5), Bleacher Report (No. 9), Pro Football Talk (No. 6)
Seattle Seahawks: ESPN (No. 7), NFL.com (No. 7), CBS Sports (No. 6), USA TODAY (No. 9), Bleacher Report (No. 8), Pro Football Talk (No. 8)
Arizona Cardinals: ESPN (No. 14), NFL.com (No. 13), CBS Sports (No. 14), USA TODAY (No. 14), Bleacher Report (No. 15), Pro Football Talk (No. 14)
Where do you have the 49ers in your power rankings?