Saturday, September 11, 2021

San Francisco 49ers Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the San Francisco 49ers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 8.6 (8th)
  • Best ranking: 6th (CBS Sports)
  • Worst ranking: 10th (ESPN)

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the 49ers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 10

Person on the hot seat: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Realistically, this decision was made once the Niners traded up to No. 3 and drafted QB Trey Lance. But Garoppolo is still clinging to his starting job, and the longer he does that -- and stays healthy -- the better it will bode for his future. It's unlikely he could do enough to stay beyond this year, but either way, this is a huge season from a career standpoint. Garoppolo is under contract for just one more season after this, but a big year would undoubtedly increase his trade value and could put him in position to land another sizable contract as a starter somewhere else. -- Nick Wagoner -- Rank: 9

The training camp QB competition played out like a soapy FOX prime-time show of the '90s, but credit Kyle Shanahan for keeping things from becoming a capital-D Distraction in Santa Clara. Everyone knows Trey Lance will have a role on this team -- Shanahan has said as much -- but the obvious question remains unanswered: When does Lance's role exceed Jimmy Garoppolo's? Shanahan will likely begin the season implementing both QBs in game action (and have some nerdy offensive-genius fun while he does it). Lance's role will blossom in accordance with how many splash plays he can deliver when given the opportunity.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 6

No matter who plays quarterback, this is the team I think will win the NFC West. Jimmy Garoppolo will likely start the season, but Trey Lance will get snaps as well. They are healthy again, which is bad news for the rest of the division.

USA Today -- Rank: 9

If you're a West Coast team opening with a pair of 1 p.m. kickoffs in the Eastern time zone, you want them -- this year, anyway -- in Detroit and Philadelphia.

The Athletic -- Rank: 9

Why they're ranked here: Our panel has the 49ers as a fringe top-10 team, with 56 percent slotting San Francisco between spots 8 to 11. The 49ers should again boast a good defense, but the optimism lies in the fact they will almost certainly get better quarterback play than they did a year ago.

One big question: How will the offense change with Trey Lance? The rookie may not be the starting quarterback Week 1, especially amid his finger injury. But Lance will eventually get the call this season, and it'll be fascinating to see how the offense changes at that point. Kyle Shanahan is great at scheming up quick, easy reads for quarterbacks, which could work well for the rookie.

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