5 reasons why SF 49ers get back into Super Bowl in 2022

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Kerry Hyder, SF 49ers, LA Rams
Kerry Hyder Jr. #92 of the San Francisco 49ers sacks Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

No. 3: NFC West is wide open

Narrowing it down, one of the best ways to get to a Super Bowl is to secure the No. 1 overall seed in the conference and a first-round bye. And to do that, winning the division is a necessity. The SF 49ers found out about this importance during their 2019 Super Bowl run by beating the Seattle Seahawks on the last day of the regular season.

Entering 2020, much of the NFL looked at the NFC West as the best division in football. While partially true, the AFC North might now hold that accolade.

If anything, though, the NFC West being wide open remains a great boost to the Niners’ chances.

Yes, the Rams got better by landing quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions, sending away a turnover-prone Jared Goff. But with a deficit of over $30 million in cap space for 2021, only marginally affected by the Stafford-Goff trade, it’s likely LA will have to make some serious cap-casualty cuts and won’t be able to re-sign the bulk of their 15-odd players poised to hit free agency.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks are just under $3 million in available cap space and remain a contender as long as quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver D.K. Metcalf are in the fray. But an already-questionable Seahawks defense is poised to lose pending free agents like cornerback Shaquill Griffin, linebacker K.J. Wright and cornerback Quinton Dunbar.

If anything, 2019 proved a healthy SF 49ers squad can match Seattle.

Perhaps the only team trying to trend upward is the Arizona Cardinals, and even they have their own serious question marks about improving to the top of the NFC West anytime soon.