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SI leaves 49ers off list of 12 teams who could win the Super Bowl in 2022

No confidence in the first-year starting QB

San Francisco 49ers Rookie Minicamp Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Sports Illustrated’s Connor Orr decided 12 teams in the NFL could win the Super Bowl in 2022 but omitted the San Francisco 49ers.

Orr acknowledged that in 2021, he didn’t list the Cincinnati Bengals. I won’t fault him for that, as they weren’t on anyone’s playoff radar, let alone making the Super Bowl.

The year before, Orr neglected to list the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Failing to list a team quarterbacked by Tom Brady should raise a few eyebrows.

The 12 teams consisted of the entire AFC West, the Bills, Bengals, Ravens, Colts, Cowboys, Packers, Bucs, Rams, and the Eagles. Orr listed the Niners in his notes:

• I also very, very much wanted to lead this list with the 49ers and/or make San Francisco my surprise team. I feel like I have been president of the Trey Lance fan club, but I am also worried about the mass mining of the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree. The 49ers’ omission makes me more nervous than anything on this list, quite frankly, but it’s tough for coaches, year after year, to replace brain power. Having Rich Scangarello at Kentucky and Mike McDaniel in Miami is just the tip of the iceberg. The 49ers lost their QB coach, run game coordinator, special teams coordinator, tight ends coach and running backs coach. That’s a heavy load for any franchise.

Rarely do the Super Bowl runner-ups make it back to the big game. Without hesitation, I’d put the Niners in before Cincy, Dallas, and the Eagles.

Based on the production during the previous couple of seasons, I’d argue the 49ers losing their quarterbacks’ coach, and special teams coordinator should be viewed as addition by subtraction.

McDaniel will be a massive loss, as that was the genius behind the ever-evolving running game that kept defenses off balance. You’re hoping Lance and his legs make up for the loss of McDaniel.

At the same time, calling the team that was on the brink of another Super Bowl appearance last year a surprise team wouldn’t be accurate, either. The defense should improve with the addition of Charvarius Ward, more depth along the defensive line, and having another year with DeMeco Ryans.

The offense might not be near the top when it comes to efficiency, but the explosive plays and playmaking ability should offset those losses, making the 49ers a dangerous team in 2022.