NFL Power Rankings: 49ers’ fortunes rely on Trey Lance’s readiness

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

SF 49ers have a solid amount of respect from the national media in the first round of NFL Power Rankings

With the start of the NFL’s regular season comes another annual tradition that has about as much meaning as crossing your fingers before a big play, but that still doesn’t stop the league’s national media from releasing their weekly NFL Power Rankings in an effort to sort out the order of greatness among the 32 teams competing each week.

To start the year, power rankings are a mix of last year’s results mixed with projections about a roster’s trajectory mixed with responses to an offseason filled with activity. For the San Francisco 49ers, it’s clear that some NFL analysts and Power Rankings compilers (is that a job?) are enthralled with the team’s deep postseason run and the way in which they played in the Super Bowl champion L.A. Rams as close as they did. However others realize that what matters most is Trey Lance’s development.

Over at FanSided, Matt Verderame admits that the Niners are a mixed bag because of the transition at quarterback from Jimmy Garoppolo to Lance. He has them at No. 9 overall and writes, “If Trey Lance is excellent, the Niners are a Super Bowl team. If he struggles, they could miss the playoffs altogether.”

That quizzical sentiment is shared by others like Austin Gayle of the Ringer and the Monday Morning Quarterback Staff, both of whom have the Niners at No. 8 overall. Gayle writes, “…the ceiling will be determined by just how quickly—if ever—Lance can exceed rapidly ascending expectations.”

Dan Hanzus of the NFL’s official site thinks much higher of Lance and the Niners’ chances in 2022 than others and lists them at No. 3 overall, just behind the Rams and Buffalo Bills.

Over at Yahoo! Sports, Frank Schwab has the Niners as low as No. 13 overall and writes, “I still like Lance to have a breakout season, but a little less than I did before Garoppolo restructured his contract.”

Was the conference championship appearance a sign of things to come? Can Trey Lance take the Niners even farther than before? These are the questions being asked of a team coming into the year with high expectations.