This year, I’ll try and use three consistent sources for the NFL’s power rankings. NFL.com, ESPN, and CBS. Here is each of their blurbs, starting with the former.
San Francisco 49ers - No. 9
Previous rank: No. 2
The 49ers need their wide receivers to get healthy. Aside from a breathtaking Raheem Mostert catch-and-run TD (his max speed of 22.73 mph was the highest of any player in the past three seasons, per Next Gen Stats), it was a slog on offense against the Cardinals. Playing without Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk (a pregame scratch), San Francisco receivers managed four catches for 41 yards on 11 targets. Jimmy Garoppolo’s stat sheet didn’t match his play, either: In the final two minutes, he undershot an open Kendrick Bourne on what could have been a go-ahead TD, then threw late and behind Trent Taylor on the game-deciding, fourth-down play deep in Arizona territory.
Health is key. Taylor and Bourne shouldn’t be your top threats if you are contending for a Super Bowl. One thing that I haven’t seen enough of is giving the Cardinals defense credit. Yes, San Francisco made plenty of mistakes for Arizona did not make life easy on the Niners offense after the first quarter. They adjusted, while Kyle Shanahan did not.
6. San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
Preseason ranking: 3
Best rookie debut: DT Javon Kinlaw
There really isn’t much to choose from here because the only other Niners rookie to play was tight end Charlie Woerner, who played one snap on offense and seven on special teams. Kinlaw didn’t make much of an impact, posting one assisted tackle on 39 defensive snaps. He didn’t play much on passing downs, so his primary job was to occupy blockers and play the run, but this debut didn’t offer any sort of wow factor. — Nick Wagoner
That was not a good home showing against Arizona in the opener. The Cardinals moved the ball well against that top defense. That has to change. The offense has too many injuries right now.
Pete Prisco is a master troll, and that’s evidenced by how he had the Cardinals one spot ahead of the 49ers in his rankings. It’s a brand new season, and we should unlearn what we know about 2019. I don’t believe Arizona is the better team, but they beat the 49ers, so I could understand why a writer would come to that conclusion.
After dropping a divisional game, does it feel like the next few games are a must-win, considering the back half of the schedule?