Niner Noise looks around the league to see what experts are saying about the San Francisco 49ers, following their 26-23 overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts, heading into Week 6 of NFL power rankings.
Despite a 0-5 record to start the season, there are number of positives for the San Francisco 49ers entering Week 6.
Yes, the Niners dropped yet another overtime game — this time to the Indianapolis Colts, 26-23, on the road. And yes, there are more problems than solutions for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co.
But San Francisco has been mostly competitive this season, losing their last four games by a combined total of 11 points.
San Francisco 49ers
That’s not something the Niners would have been able to say a year ago.
Nevertheless, the 49ers are still towards the very bottom in NFL power rankings heading into Week 6. Our own assessment has San Francisco at No. 31 — one spot over the also-winless Cleveland Browns.
Let’s take a look around the league, though, to see what other experts and analysts are saying about the Niners.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: 31 (-1)
"Kyle Shanahan can’t buy a win. Much like Skeletor, who seemed to always best He-Man for 20 minutes of each episode, then found a way to lose because He-Man had the power, of course. Brian Hoyer isn’t doing his head coach any favors. He looks incapable one minute, then he gets into a zone, then he misses receivers on throws late. Hoyer wasn’t off by much in the OT loss to the Colts,throwing for 353 yards, yet he couldn’t produce diddley squat for almost three quarters. At some point, he and the Niners will put a whole game together."
ESPN Stats & Information: 29 (even)
"The 49ers have virtually no shot at making the playoffs following a five-loss start. To their credit, four of their five losses have been by exactly three points, so at least they’ve been in most of their games."
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: 31 (even)
"They fought at Indianapolis, but dropped to 0-5. They lost consecutive overtime games, which can take a lot out of a team."
USA Today Sports: 30 (-6)
"Still winless, they should focus on getting a good look at their quarterback of the future this weekend … meaning Kirk Cousins."
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: 31 (even)
"Since looking bad in Week 1, the 49ers have four losses by 11 total points, with no loss by more than a field goal. The 49ers are the second team, joining the 1994 Oilers, to lose four straight games in the same season by three or fewer points (h/t to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press). Sure, it stinks to lose all those games. But in the big picture, this is a talent-poor team that’s battling hard and coming close. They had a nice comeback to force overtime on Sunday. It could be worse."
Chris Simms, Bleacher Report: 31 (even)
"There are positives with the 49ers. They are capable of moving the ball on offense. There just aren’t guys who can make the game-changing plays needed to get over the hump and win games.The defense, while talented, will have days where it struggles. That was the case against the Colts. The unit was gashed on the ground by running back Marlon Mack, which isn’t a good look for a defensive line filled with a number of first-round picks.San Francisco’s defense did give the team a chance to win in overtime with an interception, but Brian Hoyer and Co. couldn’t capitalize."
It’s interesting to see national writers making note of the Niners remaining at least competitive in games, despite the known lack of talent on both sides of the ball.
Remember what we just said about the Chip Kelly-led 49ers? By no means would the 2016 group be in games late.
And we’ve pretty much come to understand the lack of major movement — aside from you, USA Today — in NFL power rankings this week. In a sense, San Francisco is better than Cleveland but inferior to pretty much everyone else.
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It’s not that far off the predictions often seen for the 49ers heading into this season, though, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.
It’s also not likely San Francisco picks up its first win of the season in Week 6. The Niners have to travel back east again for the third of three road games, this time against the well-rested Washington Redskins coming off a bye week.
Yeah, 0-6 seems likely.