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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

‘Staying in the playoff hunt will be a challenge’: 49ers plummet in power rankings after 2-3 start

Oct 14, 2020 at 6:05 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers lost their second consecutive game and remain winless at home as the team fell to 2-3 in the standings. The latest embarrassment came courtesy of a 43-17 beating at the hands of the visiting Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

The 49ers are exiting what many considered to be the easier portion of their schedule and now embark on a five-game stretch that includes the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, and New Orleans Saints. First, they will host the Los Angeles Rams before playing three of four games on the road before the bye week.

With San Francisco's Super Bowl hopes becoming less and less realistic, the team's playoff hopes also diminish with each loss. Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers need to turn things around and start stacking up victories quickly, or it could be a long and frustrating season.

The 49ers sit at the bottom of the NFC West and find themselves as underdogs against a division opponent for the first time in a year. Few still view the Niners as a championship-caliber team.

Below is a sample of some of the more prominent power rankings around the web and where San Francisco currently stands within each.

Current Ranking: 17
Previous rank: 13
"Biggest weakness: Offensive line. The 49ers have questions all over right now, but many of them are related to injuries. The offensive line dealt with some injuries in camp, which undoubtedly hurt early-season cohesion, but the group is still mostly what the team envisioned in the offseason. Yet the 49ers have yielded 18 sacks, fourth-most in the NFL, and rank 22nd in run block win rate. If the Niners can't regain control of the line of scrimmage consistently, it's going to be difficult for an offense with plenty of playmakers to get back on track." — Nick Wagoner

USA Today
Current Ranking: 20
Previous rank: 17
"While the spotlight may be on the revolving door at quarterback, real concern should be lasered on a defense just shredded ... by Miami." — Nate Davis

Bleacher Report
Current Ranking: 21
Previous rank: 16
"The Super Bowl hangover appears to be a real thing. Through five weeks, just about everything that could go wrong for the San Francisco 49ers has gone wrong. After getting pasted by the Miami Dolphins, they have already lost as many games in 2020 as they did in the entire 2019 regular season. Injuries have decimated them on both sides of the ball. And now there might be a quarterback controversy to boot. Jimmy Garoppolo was back under center for the Niners in Week 5 after missing two games with an ankle injury. However, he finished 7-of-17 for 77 yards and two picks before being benched in favor of C.J. Beathard." — NFL Staff

CBS Sports
Current Ranking: 21
Previous rank: 19
"This team hardly looks like the one that played in the Super Bowl just over nine months ago. Injuries have crippled the roster." — Pete Prisco
Current Ranking: 21
Previous rank: 14
"A troubling setback for the Niners in Week 5. The Dolphins came to Levi's Stadium and blew the doors off the home team in a 43-17 shellacking that exposed holes on the defense and led to major questions about the quarterback position. Jimmy Garoppolo's return to the lineup after missing two weeks with a high ankle sprain was supposed to stabilize the offense, but Jimmy G struggled through two quarters, then was replaced by C.J. Beathard after halftime. Kyle Shanahan said after the game that Garoppolo was benched to physically protect the quarterback, which begs the question of why he was allowed to return to the field in the first place. With a ridiculous stretch of elite opponents ahead, the Niners are at risk of sliding into irrelevance by Thanksgiving." — Dan Hanzus

Sports Illustrated
Current Ranking: 21
Previous rank: 16
"It's a defensive system that needs a pass rush. Last year they had Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Dee Ford. This year they don't. Jimmy Garoppolo wasn't right physically (or mentally) on Sunday, and a Kyle Shanahan offense might never look that bad again. But right now, this is a middling defense and an offense with a ton of question marks. Staying in the playoff hunt will be a challenge." — Gary Grambling

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