Wednesday, October 4, 2023

San Francisco 49ers Week 5 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 5 roundup for the San Francisco 49ers in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 1

Biggest issue on defense: Red zone efficiency

By and large, the 49ers' defense doesn't have many areas that stick out for improvement, but it could do a better job of slowing opponents down when they get inside the 20. Through four games, the Niners have allowed touchdowns on six of nine drives they've allowed to reach the red zone, a 66.7% rate that is tied for 23rd in the NFL. The Niners are still winning games comfortably, but holding opponents to field goals instead of touchdowns more frequently will matter as the schedule gets more difficult. -- Nick Wagoner -- Rank: 1

I touched on this right after Sunday's 35-16 win over Arizona, but I think it's worth repeating: Brandon Aiyuk has become such a dangerous element for this offense. Yes, yes, Christian McCaffrey scored four TDs -- he's amazing and all of that. But Aiyuk's speed spreads the defense wide and deep, and opponents still have to worry about CMC, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. Aiyuk came back from injury on Sunday and had catches of 16, 11, 42, 25, 34 and 20 yards -- the first five coming on first downs. So right when you're gearing up for a handoff, Kyle Shanahan will call a shot play to Aiyuk. That's just wicked. Kittle and Deebo combined for one catch, but the offense mostly hummed right along. And after things tightened up in the third quarter, San Francisco ultimately won comfortably.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 1

There is no doubt who the best team in the league is right now. They do face a tough test Sunday night against the Cowboys.

USA Today -- Rank: 1

RB Christian McCaffrey is averaging a cool 150 yards and nearly two TDs per game. It's obviously early, but he's got a shot at LaDainian Tomlinson's single-season touchdown mark (31) and probably has a much better one at Chris Johnson's record for yards from scrimmage (2,509). That said, CMC tracking toward more than 400 touches, which he did four years ago, is also slightly alarming.

The Athletic -- Rank: 1

Like the next team on this list, San Francisco is defined so far by its lack of chaos. Running back Christian McCaffrey, who had 177 yards of offense and four touchdowns Sunday, is gaining an NFL-high 36.8 percent of his team's scrimmage yards. Brock Purdy was 20-for-21 passing while averaging 13.5 yards per attempt. McCaffrey and wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk (six catches, 148 yards Sunday) and Deebo Samuel account for 74.9 percent of the 49ers' yards this season. So far, that's working just fine.

FOX -- Rank: 1

This team has barely exited cruise control this first month. And when they do, it's scary. Their win against Arizona briefly looked interesting when the Cardinals scored to make it a 21-16 game — and then the Niners turned it on for two straight touchdowns. Final score, 35-16. This is a complete and terrifying team.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 1

On Sunday, Brock Purdy was 20-of-21 and also averaged 13.5 yards per attempt. He leads the NFL with an astounding 115.1 passer rating. Purdy hasn't just repeated what he did late last season, he has been much improved. It will be interesting to see what he does against Dallas.

PFT -- Rank: 1

The top seed in the NFC possibly hangs in the balance on Sunday night, when the Cowboys come to town.

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