As Week 5 enters the scene, the San Francisco 49ers find themselves alone atop both the NFC West and the conference as a whole. Still, there seems to be an undercurrent among experts the Niners might not be the team their record suggests. Niner Noise looks at why that might not be the case.
At the quarter pole of the season, most NFL prognosticators and experts start to look at teams who have proven themselves to be contenders in their respective divisions or conferences, and those who are more pretenders.
With their 3-0 start in 2019, the San Francisco 49ers have often been part of those conversations.
The strange part is the 49ers are often clumped in with the so-called “pretenders group,” with very few believing the team has a real opportunity to either win the NFC West or even make the playoffs.
Which isn’t to say that the Niners are completely overlooked, as media members like Good Morning Football‘s Peter Schrager positioned himself emphatically on the 49ers bandwagon:
But Schrags is more the exception than the rule, which begs the question: Why is that the case?
To be sure, the 49ers, like most teams in the NFL, have their flaws. But why are the Niners flaws more called out and noticeable, at least according to the national media?
To answer this question, let’s take a look at the rest of the expected contenders in the NFC and highlight both where they are good and where they are flawed.
The end goal will be to make the argument the Niners, at least through four weeks, are worth bunching in with the conference’s top teams, until they prove themselves to not be part of the group.
We’ll start with the 49ers division foes.