If we had to power rank the NFC entering 2022, the 49ers would likely wind up fifth, meaning these four teams should be ranked above San Francisco.
Die-hard San Francisco 49ers fans who think their team is absolutely the best thing that’s happened in the NFL and will dominate everyone in the league in 2022 by going a perfect 20-0 and winning the Super Bowl 74-3 this season, here’s some advice.
This article isn’t for you.
For the rest of us (hopefully most of us), it’s OK to be realistic. The Niners aren’t the best team in the NFC right now, at least based on what we know in the wake of free agency and the NFL Draft from last month. Heck, they’re not even the best team in the NFC West.
That’s alright, though. San Francisco is still a top contender within the conference. By in large, the 49ers retained the bulk of their roster from a year ago, one which came within minutes of making it to the Super Bowl, only to lose to the Los Angeles Rams late in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game.
And while the Niners did lose some notable contributors during the offseason, none of those losses were wholly irreplaceable or too overly significant.
That said, San Francisco should be staring up in NFC power rankings at a few teams as we inch closer to the 2022 regular season.
Such as these four, which we should admit are classed just higher than the 49ers right now.
No. 4 team better than 49ers: Philadelphia Eagles
Notable offseason additions: WR A.J. Brown, EDGE Haason Reddick, CB James Bradberry, DT Jordan Davis*, LB Nakobe Dean*
Notable offseason losses: S Rodney McLeod, CB Steven Nelson
* denotes rookie
It’d be hard to argue any team across the league had a better offseason than the Philadelphia Eagles, who still made the playoffs last year amid a weak NFC East and despite going only 9-8, which included a Week 2 loss to the Niners.
The mid-draft trade for former Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown was an absolute steal, but an already-stout Philly defense got even stronger by adding pass-rusher Haason Reddick, who had 23.5 sacks over the last two seasons combined.
The icing on the cake? Inking former New York Giants Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry.
OK, sure. It’s fair to question whether or not Philadelphia will take that next leap with quarterback Jalen Hurts under center. But like San Francisco’s situation with its own young quarterback, Trey Lance, Hurts doesn’t hurt for a supporting cast now.
And if there needs to be a point-making difference-maker, Hurts now has far more experience under his belt than the two starts Lance saw in his rookie season.
That could be the decisive edge for these rankings.