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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Where the ‘matchup nightmare’ 49ers stand in Week 10 power rankings

Nov 8, 2022 at 9:25 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers are getting healthier. On Monday, the team opened the 21-day practice windows for three players—running back Elijah Mitchell (knee), linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (knee), and offensive lineman Colton McKivitz (knee). Their return, plus the addition of running back Christian McCaffrey, would bolster a 4-4 roster looking to make a playoff push in the second half of the season.

Mitchell, Al-Shaair, and McKivitz aren't the only ones looking to return to the football field. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) and fullback Kyle Juszczyk (finger) returned to practice on Monday. Both missed the 49ers' decisive Week 8 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Linebacker Dre Greenlaw (calf), cornerback Jason Verrett (knee), and wide receiver Jauan Jennings (hamstring) could also be nearing returns.

Another key player, defensive lineman Arik Armstead, believes he is nearing a return too. He has missed five games this season, including the last four, due to foot and ankle injuries. Armstead, recovering from plantar fasciitis, revealed on Monday that he also suffered a hairline fracture in his left ankle, contributing to the missed time.

"I was hoping to be on the earlier side of returning, but I'm still on schedule," Armstead told NBC Sports Bay Area.

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

The Athletic
Current Ranking: 6
Previous rank: 5

Current Ranking: 6
Previous rank: 5
"Perhaps feeling emboldened after Christian McCaffrey's dominant hat-trick performance against the Rams, the Niners pulled the trigger on a trade that sent erstwhile starting running back Jeff Wilson Jr. to the Dolphins in exchange for a Day 3 draft pick. Parting ways with a quality depth piece behind the injury-prone McCaffrey would feel more risky if Elijah Mitchell weren't back on the radar. Mitchell, who is set to return Sunday night against the Chargers after missing two months with a knee injury, could be a starter for many teams. Pairing CMC with Mitchell gives San Francisco one of the most talented backfields in football." — Dan Hanzus

Sports Illustrated
Current Ranking: 7
Previous rank: 4
"We expected this season would be a referendum on the decision to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo to Trey Lance. Instead, Jimmy G is now back at the controls, this time with Christian McCaffrey in the backfield. The Niners are a matchup nightmare, with a ranking higher than their record would indicate." — MMQB Staff

The Ringer
Current Ranking: 8
Previous rank: 8
"The 49ers need to get healthy. Period. Battling myriad injuries, specifically on defense, San Francisco ranked 23rd in total points allowed in weeks 5-8. The expectation is that DT Arik Armstead, LB Dre Greenlaw, and CB Jason Verrett will be healthy enough to play in Week 10 as the 49ers return from their bye. And the offense, though it has had success regardless of injuries in recent weeks, will also benefit from the return of Deebo Samuel, Elijah Mitchell, and Kyle Juszczyk. The outlook for San Francisco is overwhelmingly positive if they can just stay healthy, and that's priced into the futures market. The 49ers aren't even a game above .500 and still have better odds to make the postseason than every NFC team outside of the Eagles, Vikings, and Cowboys." — Austin Gayle

USA Today
Current Ranking: 8
Previous rank: 7
"A team that looks primed to make a strong second-half run could also be getting dynamic RB Elijah Mitchell, who suffered a Week 1 knee injury, back soon to complement new RB1 Christian McCaffrey." — Nate Davis

Yahoo! Sports
Current Ranking: 8
Previous rank: 8
"Deebo Samuel returned to practice after missing a game. We should see the 49ers' offense look mostly complete. Now we can see what the 49ers can do with this impressive collection of talent." — Frank Schwab

Sporting News
Current Ranking: 9
Previous rank: 10
"The 49ers will be happy be well rested and healthier for the second half of the season with Christian McCaffrey in two for what might become league's most diverse offense. The defense, however, remains the backbone for another Super Bowl run." — Vinnie Iyer

Bleacher Report
Current Ranking: 10
Previous rank: 8
"The San Francisco 49ers don't have the best record in the NFL. Or the best record in the NFC. Or the best record in the NFC West. But after trading for star running back Christian McCaffrey, the 49ers could be one of the best teams in the league. They certainly looked the part in taking apart the defending Super Bowl champions in Week 8. ... Once the Niners are at full strength (or close to it), they will have enough firepower on offense and the league's best defense in terms of yards allowed. And that could make them the biggest threat to the Eagles in the NFC." — NFL Staff

CBS Sports
Current Ranking: 10
Previous rank: 10
"They come off their bye with a tough game with the Chargers on Sunday night. They look to carry over their momentum from the week before the bye when they blew out the Rams." — Pete Prisco

Current Ranking: 10
Previous rank: 9
"Despite missing a game with a groin injury, Bosa has been the Niners' most consistent performer on the team's best unit. He is tied for second most in the NFL in sacks (8.5), is third in pressure percentage (16.3%) and is tied for ninth in pass rush win rate (23%). Bosa is also stout against the run. On a 49ers defense that has been plagued by injury, he has proved to be the one player San Francisco can't afford to lose." — Nick Wagoner

Pro Football Talk
Current Ranking: 11
Previous rank: 12
"Forget about the record. If enough of their core players stay healthy, they easily could end up in the Super Bowl." — Mike Florio

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