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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports expects 49ers to make playoffs despite these three concerns

Sep 1, 2020 at 2:28 PM-- columnist Adam Schein took a look at the NFL's final four from last season's Championship round of the playoffs. That included the Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers, and the San Francisco 49ers.

Schein ranked each team based on the likelihood of each making the playoffs this season. The Titans were his least-likely squad, following by the Packers. The 49ers came in at No. 3, which means they were only behind the Super Bowl champion Chiefs as the most likely of the four to make the playoffs in 2020.

That doesn't mean there aren't concerns, though, when it comes to the defending NFC champions. Schein had three. One was the 49ers' quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo.

That's not to say that the columnist is as down on the passer as some have been this offseason. Garoppolo, after all, had an impressive 2019 regular-season campaign, completing 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a passer rating of 102.0. His passing yards total ranks No. 4 all-time in franchise history.

"Did the Super Bowl leave a bad taste in my mouth? Sure," wrote Schein. "Does he still mix in some face-palm throws right to defenders? Indeed he does. But I don't know how you could watch the entire 2019 season and not conclude that Jimmy's solid. That's kind of the problem, though. Solid might not be enough at the game's most important position. Not in today's high-flying NFL."

Another concern is the injuries that have plagued the team this offseason. Schein lists the setbacks for Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Kyle Juszczyk as a few examples.

"The injury bug's already biting San Francisco pretty hard, and we just entered September," wrote Schein.

It is, however, worth noting that head coach Kyle Shanahan remains hopeful that each of the players that Schein mentioned will be ready for Week 1 — even Samuel, who suffered a Jones fracture in June.

Then you have the NFC West, which may be the best division in football. That could make this season's schedule even more challenging for San Francisco. Sweeping the Arizona Cardinals, for example, won't be as easy. That's not to say that it was easy last season, as the athletic Kyler Murray is a unique obstacle for opposing defenses.

"I can see three NFC West teams making the playoffs," adds Schein. "And the other being the Rams, who obviously have a great coach, a high-powered offense and the best defensive player on the planet."

Schein concludes: "While there are worries that could theoretically spawn a Super Bowl hangover, it's tough to see a playoff party that the Niners aren't invited to."

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