Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Frelund picks 49ers as the best team to challenge Buccaneers in 2021

Jun 22, 2021 at 6:19 AM--

NFL Network had a little bit of a roundtable discussion during NFL Total Access, asking which NFC team has the best chance to challenge the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. DeAngelo Hall felt it could be a team out of the NFC West.

No, not the San Francisco 49ers.

Hall picked the division-rival Los Angeles Rams, who improved their quarterback situation this offseason with the addition of Matthew Stafford and still have some great components on defense.

However, NFL Media analytics expert Cynthia Frelund believes the 49ers, not the Rams, are both the best team in the NFC West and the team most likely to compete with the Buccaneers.

"Well, I like the Rams, and I love Aaron Donald. I think he's the best player in football," Frelund said in response to Hall's selection. "But I think the best team in this division happens to be the Niners, who I think have a real shot at contending. You talk about Dan Quinn wanting to go back to the Super Bowl (with the Dallas Cowboys) and kind of avenge that last (game). You don't think Kyle Shanahan wants to do that times two?"

Shanahan lost the Super Bowl as an offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons and then as San Francisco's head coach, blowing leads in both games.

The 49ers followed up their Super Bowl appearance with an injury-plagued campaign last season. They were the most injured team in football but still managed to win six games and compete in many others. The team is expected to be competitive again this season.

"When I look at this team, I understand we're questioning the quarterback position, but I would like to stand behind that O-line," Frelund continued. "I mean, left tackle? Check. They've got a new center this offseason. They really got a lot healthier. I mean, Nick Bosa being back? Come on, that's ridiculous.

"So, when I look at the NFC West, I actually think three teams could come out of this into the postseason, but I really think that the Niners have that chance to just take it over the top in this year."

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