NFL power rankings: Where 49ers stand among 2022 playoff teams
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers are officially in the playoff dance, and Niner Noise lists out all the postseason teams, NFL power rankings style ahead of Wild Card weekend.
Fourteen teams are left, the rest of the league is out as the 2022 edition of Wild Card weekend is now just around the corner.
Fortunately, the San Francisco 49ers are in the dance as the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoff picture, following a thrilling overtime win over the Los Angeles Rams that ensured head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad would be playing more football in January instead of going home.
Ironically, Los Angeles clinched the NFC West despite the loss but ended up losing the No. 2 seed in the conference, giving way to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers there.
So, where do all these postseason teams stack up against each other?
Wild Card weekend should be a thrilling one, and the Niners will have to be overcoming all kinds of road-underdog designations if they want to make it to Super Bowl LVI, facing off against some tough competition the entire way.
Bring both conferences into the fray, lets do some Wild Card weekend NFL power rankings for all 14 squads fortunate enough to still be competing for the Lombardi Trophy.
NFL power rankings, Wild Card weekend: Nos. 14-12 (Steelers, Eagles, Raiders)
These teams just barely got into the dance, but they won’t care. And in two teams’ cases, that extra Wild Card berth is an absolutely glorious crutch.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sure needed a lot of help getting in, but that’s precisely what they got when the Las Vegas Raiders upended the Los Angeles Chargers to close out Week 18.
While EDGE T.J. Watt and the Steelers pass defense sure look elite this season, the run defense is awfully suspect and could potentially come apart at the seams, which was the case in many of Pittsburgh’s losses this season.
And while it’s surely a good leaguewide storyline to watch quarterback Ben Roethlisberger play at least one more game, one shouldn’t expect him to deliver some of that playoff magic from years gone by against a vastly improved Kansas City Chiefs defense.
Tip your hat to the Philadelphia Eagles. They’re scrappy, and don’t let the Week 18 shellacking at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys fool you: Philly’s defense has been exceptional down the stretch.
The Eagles will need quarterback Jalen Hurts to rise to the occasion like never before, and what happens in the Wild Card round against the Bucs could be a clear indicator of whether or not Philadelphia wants to stick with him as a long-term option.
Keep in mind, though, no team rushed for more yards than Philly this season (2,715), and that might be the perfect recipe to ensure Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and Co. stay off the field in the Wild Card round.
Give credit to the Raiders for that gutsy overtime win over the Chargers, which in many ways, encapsulates their own up-and-down season that had so many trials and tribulations.
Particularly in the wake of head coach Jon Gruden’s departure.
Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia becomes the first midseason coach to make the playoffs in decades, while quarterback Derek Carr has looked like the Pro Bowler he used to be earlier in his career, hopefully putting to rest any idea Las Vegas will want to move on from him.
Four consecutive wins to close out the regular season epitomizes desperation, but Las Vegas did exactly what it needed to do.
Perhaps that’ll continue against the high-flying Cincinnati Bengals this weekend.