49ers have best chances to go from worst to first, per CBS

Raheem Mostert #31 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Raheem Mostert #31 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

It shouldn’t come as a surprise the 49ers are listed by CBS Sports as the team with the best chance to go from worst to first in 2021.

The San Francisco 49ers injured themselves en route to a 6-10 finish in 2020, merely months after making it all the way to Super Bowl LIV after pummeling their way through the playoffs.

This last-place finish within the NFC West a year ago was an anomaly. After all, few teams could absorb the sheer number of injuries head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad suffered and not have it drastically reflected in the standings, right?

So, it shouldn’t come as too big a shock the folks over at CBS Sports are predicting the 2021 Niners are poised for a 180-degree turnaround, going from worst in the division all the way to the top.

CBS Sports ranked all last-place finishers from a year ago, and the top-ranked team to engineer the turnaround was San Francisco:

"The 49ers actually finished the 2020 season with the best record (6-10) of any last-place team, and although that doesn’t make you a contender, they probably feel pretty good about themselves heading into 2021. The fact that the 49ers were able to win even six games was a minor miracle and that’s because it seemed like everyone on the roster got injured at one point or another last season.With a healthy roster, there’s no reason the 49ers can’t emulate what they did in 2019 when they won the division on their way to the Super Bowl. Although the NFC West is arguably the toughest division in football, that might not end up being a big issue for the 49ers, who have gone 8-4 in the division over the past two years."

The last nugget is actually quite interesting.

It’s one thing to chat up the injuries, but the 49ers’ split against the rest of the division over the last two seasons is actually quite remarkable. Especially when one can view the NFC West as a true gauntlet, perhaps the toughest in the NFL right now.

Will NFC West be a challenge to 49ers in 2021?

Despite their injuries, the Niners still managed to sweep the season series against the Los Angeles Rams, which marks the second consecutive year they’ve done so. A 3-1 record over the last two seasons against the Arizona Cardinals also helps, too, and it’s essentially only been the Seattle Seahawks who have remained a constant thorn in San Francisco’s side.

Going back to the Rams, though, head coach Sean McVay’s hopes now hinge on veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, who’ll look to turn McVay’s offense into a truly prolific outfit, something which now-Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff wasn’t able to do with much regularity over the past two seasons.

Read More: 49ers have surprisingly low win/loss odds totals

The NFL schedule-makers probably anticipated this, recognizing the 2021 divisional race could come down to another regular-season finale matchup, not unlike how the 49ers had to stave off the Seahawks in Week 17 of the 2019 season.

This time, however, it’ll be the Niners taking on the Rams at SoFI Stadium in a bout that could ultimately determine who walks away with the NFC West crown.

According to the folks at CBS Sports, that’ll ultimately be San Francisco.

Next. Power ranking each 49ers position after final roster cuts. dark