Niner Noise takes a look around the NFL to see what experts are saying about the San Francisco 49ers heading into Week 4. Did the Niners climb despite a loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football?
The San Francisco 49ers are off to a 0-3 record after falling to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3 by a score of 41-39.
On one hand, it was about the most entertaining game the Niners have showcased in well over a year, but head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad is still winless. And with three consecutive games on the road between Weeks 4 and 6, it’s very possible that streak continues.
The Niners are a long, long way from being anywhere close to the top of NFL power rankings across the league. Niner Noise’s own power rankings entering Week 4 have San Francisco sitting at No. 31 just ahead of the Cleveland Browns.
San Francisco 49ers
But let’s take a look around the league to see what other experts’ takes are on the 49ers’ efforts ahead of Week 4.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: 31 (-2)
"Through a whole two weeks, fans were down on Brian Hoyer and the state of Kyle Shanahan’s offense. But the “Thursday Night Football” loss flipped the script. Hoyer made some difficult throws, namely the fourth-quarter teardrop right into the hands of a sprinting Pierre Garcon. No, San Francisco didn’t win. The defense didn’t play well, but Shanahan’s boys gave the Bay Area faithful something to cheer. All 638 of those who showed up, that is."
ESPN Stats & Information: 29 (+2)
"Hoyer has thrown an interception in every game this season after not throwing any all of last year, leading to the fifth-worst Total QBR in the NFL. If he’s going to turn it around, he’ll have to do it on the road. The 49ers’ next three games are all away."
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: 31 (even)
"At least the offense came alive against the Rams. That’s a good sign moving forward."
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: 31 (-1)
"Their last two games they battled in close games at the Seahawks and against the Rams. They haven’t broken through with a win yet but they’re playing hard for Kyle Shanahan."
Chris Simms, Bleacher Report: 31 (-2)
"There are things to be excited about with the 49ers. Kyle Shanahan’s offense is going to be fun to watch, especially if the team can find a legitimate offensive line and some more playmakers.We’re seeing that this is an offense capable of breaking big runs and making long pass plays.It was surprising to see the defense struggle the way it did against the Rams. There were too many big plays surrendered in the pass game and in the running game. After a solid first couple of weeks, the defense took a step back. San Francisco has a lot of talent on its defensive line, but it was pushed around and failed to get pressure on quarterback Jared Goff."
Matt Verderame, FanSided: 32 (-2)
"The 49ers should be happy about the offensive explosion, but the defense gave up way too many points considering the talent on that unit."
It’s interesting to see ESPN actually give San Francisco a bump in power rankings this week. Perhaps the network is taking into account the Niners actually made a game of it against a Rams team sitting atop the division.
Or maybe the teams that fell — the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns — simply didn’t do enough to justify being ahead of the 49ers. Who knows?
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On the positive side of things, most analysts are recognizing signs of good things to come for Shanahan and Co. These are hardly the sentiments many pundits offered a year ago at this time when former head coach Chip Kelly was at the helm.
Week 4 presents an interesting contest for San Francisco, as the team travels to Arizona to take on the Cardinals.
The Cardinals are coming off a 28-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football and will have a short week ahead of this NFC West bout. Meanwhile, the Niners get a bit of a mini bye week, having played Thursday night.
This fact probably doesn’t give San Francisco much of an edge, but it’s important to point out nonetheless.