4 reasons to be excited about 49ers playoff chances in 2021

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Ken Webster, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ken Webster (40) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: 49ers have to have better luck with injuries, right?

If fans and analysts can choose one reason why the 49ers missed out on the playoffs last year, the unanimous choice would be injuries.

No other team suffered more injuries last season than the Niners, and it’s a substantiated fact pointed out by Football Outsiders, whose adjusted-games-lost metric number of 166.6 was, far and away, the worst for any team in the league.

The best number? The Super Bowl-champion Buccaneers at 30.6.

Granted, San Francisco has been one of the league’s most injured teams under the reign of head coach Kyle Shanahan. Yet another swarm of injuries in 2019 didn’t prevent Shanahan’s squad from finishing 13-3 and boasting the No. 1 overall seed in the conference. The 49ers had an AGL metric of 95.8 that season, sixth worst, and still made it to the Super Bowl.

And even last year, particularly with an added playoff berth, the Niners were still in the playoff hunt until very late in the season. That bodes well, too.

Despite San Francisco’s injury history, the law of averages suggests Shanahan’s squad will come nowhere close to the sheer number of impactful injuries it suffered a year ago.

Even with some marginal good fortune in this department, that should be enough for the 49ers to get back into the playoffs.