The 49ers have made it into the top five of FanSided’s NFL power rankings, and rookie Brock Purdy surely has a lot to do with that outcome.
For weeks, the San Francisco 49ers have been teetering on the outside of the top five of FanSided insider Matt Verderame’s weekly NFL power rankings.
Eighth, seventh and the occasional sixth. And, understandably so, Verderame actually dropped the Niners down a bit when veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered what’s likely to be a season-ending foot injury back in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins.
However, San Francisco won that game, thanks largely to a relatively unknown quarterback at the time, Brock Purdy, who has gone from Mr. Irrelevant as the last pick in the NFL Draft to something of a cult hero.
Particularly among the 49ers Faithful.
Purdy became the first ever to beat the GOAT, Tom Brady, while making his first-ever NFL start. And after the Niners dominated Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Purdy did his part to help secure the NFC West crown when San Francisco defeated the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football in Week 15.
True, Purdy was a little banged up in that game with rib and oblique injuries. Yet it didn’t matter. He tossed two touchdown passes, and the 49ers defense and run game ensured the Hawks didn’t stand much of a chance to thwart their NFC West rivals’ attempt to win the division.
Good work all around, right? And it bumped San Francisco up into the elite echelon of teams in Verderame’s power rankings this week.
49ers make top 5 of FanSided NFL power rankings entering Week 16
No longer on the outside of the top five, the 49ers can now claim that fifth spot, and Verderame offered up a piece of analysis that’s actually quite telling:
"Brock Purdy, Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance. Who cares? NFC West champs."
It actually might not matter right now who’s at quarterback. The Niners are playing hot, taking advantage of an elite rushing attack within an offense that isn’t asking Purdy to carry the team on his shoulders.
And the defense? Well, it’s No. 1 in the league for plenty of reasons, star power being a prime one, but the play-calling abilities from coordinator DeMeco Ryans stand out, too.
Simply put, San Francisco might now be the most feared team within the conference even though it’s still just the No. 3 seed and trails, at least in terms of its 10-4 record, the Philadelphia Eagles (13-1) and Minnesota Vikings (11-3).
Verderame actually placed Minnesota at No. 7 in this week’s power rankings, for what it’s worth, while the Eagles are still at No. 1.
Perhaps that all changes with some shakeups in Week 16, and the 49ers can hope for more good fortune as they host the Washington Commanders on Saturday, Dec. 24.