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Week 14 power rankings: 49ers the top team after dominating Eagles

Dec 5, 2023 at 8:56 AM--


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The San Francisco 49ers made a resounding statement on Sunday with their dominant 42-19 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the team responsible for eliminating them from the playoffs last season. The 49ers downplayed the revenge factor, with players emphasizing that their focus was on proving their remaining doubters wrong.

"This game today was all about just us showing the world where we sit when it comes to the hierarchy in [the] NFL," All-Pro tackle Trent Williams said after the game. "Last year is last year. We didn't have a quarterback. You're supposed to win that game, but we want to just prove to the world that we are one of the better teams."

Quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow early in last season's bout with the Eagles. On Sunday, offered fans a glimpse of what might have been, completing 19 of his 27 pass attempts (70.4 percent) for 314 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 148.8 passer rating. Notably, he is now the betting frontrunner in the MVP race.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan may have one of the most well-rounded rosters at his disposal. San Francisco showcases one of the NFL's premier defenses, and Purdy has an array of weapons at his disposal, including Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle. It's a group that knows how to rise to the occasion in crucial games, exemplified by their Week 13 clash in Philadelphia.

"I think we've got a lot of guys with experience," Shanahan commented this week. "First of all, I think we've got a bunch of people who have been in a ton of big games. The way they carry themselves in the offseason or in OTAs and in training camp, to just week-in and week-out, how our practices are. We've got a real good group of guys who football is very important to.

"So they're not guys that we've got to spend a lot of time motivating and asking them to do their job. They're guys who completely understand their situation, understand what their job is and understand the magnitude of each week."

What does the national media think about the Niners' roster compared to the rest of the league? Below are samples from some of the more prominent power rankings around the web and where San Francisco currently stands within each. As always, the highest rankings are listed first (which doesn't mean anything this week).

The Athletic
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 4
"When the 49ers are healthy, they are scary. They hoped to prove that Brock Purdy's injury in the NFC Championship Game was the only reason they didn't beat the Eagles and advance to the Super Bowl last season. Mission accomplished. Deebo Samuel, who talked the most trash coming into the game, scored three touchdowns. When he, Purdy and left tackle Trent Williams are all healthy, San Francisco has scored at least 27 points this season." — Josh Kendall

Bleacher Report
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 5
"The game of the week in Week 13 featured no shortage of subplots. It was a rematch of last year's NFC Championship Game—a chippy affair played by the teams most consider the two best in the NFC. By the time the final gun sounded, it was payback. And a statement by the 49ers—a proclamation that while Philly may have the better record, the Niners are the better team." — NFL Staff

CBS Sports
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 4
"They showed against the Eagles that they are the best team in the league. They beat them up in all facets of the game -- on their field, no less." — Pete Prisco

ESPN
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 2
"For anyone who watched Purdy last year, it's not surprising that he has had a productive year. This is more about the extent of that production and that it has come so soon after he suffered a torn UCL in his right elbow in late January. Through 12 games, Purdy leads the NFL in QBR (75.6), completion percentage (70.2%) and yards per attempt (9.6), among other key categories. Purdy hasn't just picked up where he left off, he has been better and helped elevate the Niners' offense to heights it hasn't previously reached since coach Kyle Shanahan arrived in 2017." — Nick Wagoner

NFL.com
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 3
"They're back. For the first time since Week 7, the 49ers are in the pole position. At least as far as these rankings go. As for the NFC's top seed, that remains a quest in progress, even after Sunday's monstrous, resounding victory in Philly. Did the Niners catch an Eagles team that had been put through the grinder lately? Sure. But that's what the playoffs are about, right? It's a weekly deathmatch, and second place is an extra week's vacation. Who wants to see these two teams meet again in the postseason? Yeah, just about all of us -- and it feels borderline inevitable at this point. If the 49ers carry a healthy offense into a rematch, it might be too much for the Eagles -- or any other foe, for that matter -- to handle. Brock Purdy has answered any question you could have conjured up during the three-game losing streak. He was the maestro before that -- and has been since." — Eric Edholm

Pro Football Network
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 5
"The 49ers bullied the team that sat atop the NFL power rankings before this week. They were favorites on the road against Philadelphia, and the game showed why. They're the more complete team, at least on paper. They entered Week 13 ranked fourth in defensive EPA and first in offensive EPA. Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Christian McCaffrey are the best supporting cast in the NFL, and Shanahan is arguably the best offensive mind in the game." — Dalton Miller

Pro Football Talk
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 2
"If they can keep their key players healthy, they'll easily win it all." — Mike Florio

The Ringer
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 3
"It was clear how badly the 49ers wanted to avenge last year's NFC championship loss to the Eagles. The 42-19 beatdown made it seem equally evident that it would take something as cataclysmic as multiple quarterback injuries to stop San Francisco's run through the conference this year. When the star offensive trio of Trent Williams, Deebo Samuel, and Christian McCaffrey is healthy, this unit is nearly unstoppable, and against Philly, it was good enough to reignite the MVP discussion around quarterback Brock Purdy on a day when he threw multiple touchdowns on screen passes." — Nora Princiotti

Sports Illustrated
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 2
"I was watching a long George Kittle catch-and-run with rapt attention on Sunday thinking: who is going to tackle that guy in January? The 49ers have four players who are like that; four skill position players who have the ability to break a team's spirit, compared to maybe two on every other team. This is not unknown news, but the closer we get to the playoffs, and after a physical beatdown of the second best team in the NFL, we are realizing what a disappointment it would be if the 49ers did not win the Super Bowl." — Conor Orr

Sporting News
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 2
"The 49ers have outscored their opponents 134-49 during their four-game winning streak after a bye, following a three-game slump. That's almost 34 points per game as their offense is rolling with Brock Purdy locked into Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey at the same time. The defense is cleaning up again with elite complementary football, too." — Vinnie Iyer

Touchdown Wire
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 4
"A lot of demons were exorcised by the 49ers on Sunday. Several players showed up wearing all black as a metaphor for a funeral, and they proceeded to beat the ever living hell out of the Eagles for three hours. Deebo Samuel continues to show that he is the second most valuable player on the 49ers' offense behind Christian McCaffrey, and San Francisco ran away with a game they've had circled since the schedule released." — Jarrett Bailey

USA Today
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 2
"Sunday's performance in Philadelphia was proof positive that San Francisco is undoubtedly the league's best team when all of its key parts are in the lineup. And if QB Brock Purdy isn't careful (116.1 QB rating), he's going to set a record as the most efficient quarterback in the bounds of a single season." — Nate Davis

Yahoo! Sports
Current Ranking: 1
Previous Rank: 2
"Deebo Samuel has played nine full games this season. The 49ers are 9-0 in those games. Samuel missed two games and most of another due to injury, and San Francisco went 0-3 in those games. That's not a coincidence." — Frank Schwab

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