Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo the reason Peter King has 49ers listed below Saints in his offseason power rankings

Jun 1, 2020 at 7:10 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers have to be considered one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LV, especially considering the team is coming off a Super Bowl run from last season and was just minutes away from earning a championship, right? Of course, the Super Bowl winners, the Kansas City Chiefs, have to be the most heavily favored to win it all at the end of the 2020 season.

Where does that put the 49ers in Peter King's offseason power rankings? Two? Three? Wait ... neither of those?

The 49ers are at No. 4 on the respected NBC Sports writer's list.

Which teams are above last season's Super Bowl runner-ups and the defending NFC champions? You have the Chiefs at No. 1, of course. That much is expected. Next, you have the Baltimore Ravens and then the New Orleans Saints before you find Kyle Shanahan's squad.

So not only are the 49ers not in the top two, they aren't even the highest-ranked NFC team. King does explain why he has New Orleans listed above San Francisco — and more on that in a minute. He notes that New Orleans has pretty much the same team returning from last year with the additions of former Niners receiver Emmanuel Sanders on the offensive side and safety Malcolm Jenkins on the defensive side.

"To make it to Super Bowl 55, New Orleans will have to be better than up-and-coming San Francisco and the pesky Bucs," notes King in his latest installment of Football Morning in America.

As for the 49ers, King likes how the team responded to change this offseason, replacing retired offensive tackle Joe Staley with Trent Williams and Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner with first-round pick Javon Kinlaw. The team also added rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

The key to a successful season will come down to the team's quarterback play, says the writer.

"The 49ers have an excellent chance to stay atop the tough NFC West," writes King, "though a Lombardi Trophy will come only with more consistency from Jimmy Garoppolo. His 75.9 rating in the playoffs, while not coming out of nowhere, was more noticeable because of how coach Kyle Shanahan play-called in January after Garoppolo threw an ugly interception against the Vikings. In the Niners' last six quarters before the Super Bowl, Garoppolo threw 14 passes, and the Niners ran it 72 times. That might have happened in the Bob Griese Miami days, but man, was it noticeable in today's football."

Garoppolo has, perhaps unfairly, shouldered much of the blame this offseason for the 49ers' loss in Super Bowl LIV. One completed pass to Sanders late in that game may have prevented that and painted a very different offseason picture.

"The only one who can do anything about this is cool Jimmy G," adds King, "and I think all the badgering will push him to be better. But we haven't seen it yet. That's why the Saints are 3 and Niners 4 in this totally scientific rating of the teams."

Just a note: King was probably joking when he said "totally scientific rating."

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