San Francisco’s season has been trying for many reasons. The 49ers have been hit the hardest by the injury bug out of any NFL team and to makes things worse, the organization had to move its operations to Arizona for the time being due to Santa Clara County tightening its COVID-19 restrictions.
The Niners can get back on track with a win against Alex Smith and the Washington Football Team on Sunday.
Here is where NFL analysts have San Francisco ranked in their Week 14 power rankings.
ESPN has the 49ers 18th (down two spots from last week)
The 49ers remain in the NFC playoff mix, and although Garoppolo is still working his way back from a high ankle sprain, the opportunity to return and lead the Niners back to the postseason would be a big one. Coach Kyle Shanahan has said he expects Garoppolo to be his starter in 2021 but that no decisions have been made on anyone’s future. Garoppolo’s injury history and price tag could lead the Niners to seek other options to replace him or join him in San Francisco. A healthy finishing flourish would help Garoppolo’s case to remain the starter beyond this season.
USA TODAY has the 49ers 19th (down three spots from last week)
But as was with the theme of the night, Buffalo went right back down the field to score, pushing their lead back to 17 points midway through the fourth quarter. San Francisco responded with a drive deep into Bills’ territory, but Nick Mullens was intercepted by Tre’Davious White to end the threat, and squelch the notion of a comeback.
The loss does not shut the door on San Francisco reaching the post-season. Thanks to the handy Playoff Calculator from the New York Times, they can still get into the playoffs if they win some games down the stretch. They’ll see Washington in Week 14, and a victory over Shanahan’s old team would be a good place to start.
Yahoo Sports has the 49ers 20th (down two spots from last week)
The 49ers were rallying and getting back in the playoff race was not out of the question with Arizona slipping. But as we saw Monday night, the 49ers have been through too much this season. They were dealt a rough hand and that was even before they had to move operations to Arizona.
Pro Football Talk has the 49ers 21st (down four spots from last week)
Every time it looks like it’s over for the 49ers, they win the next game.
Bleacher Report has the 49ers 21st (down one spot from last week)
The 2020 season has been a waking nightmare for the defending NFC champions. With Monday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills, the San Francisco/Arizona 49ers dropped to 5-7. Barring reversals of fortune all over the conference, the Niners aren’t making the playoffs this season.
There have been a staggering level of injuries to key players on both sides of the ball. The 49ers had to move the entire team to Arizona as the result of COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara. The team has faced a staggering amount of adversity—and frankly the fact that San Fran has five wins speaks to the team’s toughness and Kyle Shanahan’s coaching.
“I say this with absolute seriousness,” Davenport said. “The best thing that could happen to this team is a losing streak that carries right on through to January. Get that top-15 pick that 5-11 record will elicit, draft an impact player next April, come back healthy in 2021 and put this miserable season in the rearview mirror.”
Here is how the rest of the NFC West teams are ranked:
Los Angeles Rams: ESPN (No. 7), USA TODAY (No. 8), Yahoo! (No. 7), Pro Football Talk (No. 6), Bleacher Report (No. 8)
Seattle Seahawks: ESPN (No. 6), USA TODAY (No. 9), Yahoo! (No. 10), Pro Football Talk (No. 10), Bleacher Report (No. 7)
Arizona Cardinals: ESPN (No. 14), USA TODAY (No. 17), Yahoo! (No. 17), Pro Football Talk (No. 16), Bleacher Report (No. 16)
Where do you have the 49ers in your power rankings?