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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Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is sacked by Buccaneers Shaquil Barrett (58) and Jason Pierre-Paul (90) Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports /

No. 1: NFC will be weaker as a whole in 2021

In 2019, there was little questioning the NFC was the stronger of the two conferences, although that shifted in 2020.

In 2021, the AFC will be the tougher of the two.

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Of the 14 teams above the predicted $176 million salary cap in 2021, eight of them are NFC squads. As noted on the previous slide, the Saints are probably going to be without a future Hall of Famer in Drew Brees, all but eliminating them from serious Super Bowl contention. The Packers, while always a threat with quarterback Aaron Rodgers under center, are $32-plus million over the cap, too. That’ll shake things up there in the NFC North, as the Packers figure to be one of the primary obstacles to a would-be conference championship for the SF 49ers.

Meanwhile, the NFC East remains in a four-team rebuild state, and the NFC South could feature a Buccaneers squad potentially going through a Super Bowl “hangover” regardless of what happens in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7.

If the Niners are able to handle their business in the NFC West, making sure they’re not thwarted by teams like the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks, getting through a gauntlet of playoff teams in January 2021 doesn’t seem anywhere near as imposing as it initially appeared in early 2020 after San Francisco already secured the top seed that season.

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All optimistic takes for an SF 49ers Super Bowl run in 2021 and into 2022? Certainly. Far beyond the realm of realistic possibility? Certainly not.

Be optimistic, Niners fans.