5 nightmare scenarios for 49ers in 2023

The 49ers are projected to be a Super Bowl contender in 2023, but things don't always go according to plan.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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San Francisco 49ers fans don't have to look too far back to recall just how easily a season can go terribly wrong.

In 2020, not long after the Niners came oh-so-close to winning their sixth Super Bowl, a rash of unprecedented and devastating injuries befell head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad in a manner almost never seen before, at least not in recent San Francisco history.

So much for the 49ers' self-proclaimed "revenge tour" that year.

Now, the Niners are coming off back-to-back NFC Championship game losses yet still have a team more than capable of winning a Super Bowl.

They'll be in the mix, right?

Well, not if one of these five nightmare scenarios pan out.

49ers nightmare scenario No. 1: Injury bug strikes again

2020 wasn't an anomaly. For whatever reason, San Francisco is an injury-prone team, and the data backs it up.

Football Outsiders' adjusted-games-lost metric, which accounts for time lost by players to injuries and not just entire games missed, had the 49ers worst in the league in 2020, as far as injuries were concerned. But, in 2021, the Niners weren't much better and finished fourth worst.

A year ago, San Francisco was ninth worst.

It's a troubling trend, especially considering some of the 49ers' biggest star talent -- Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey -- all have significant injury histories.

Another rash of injuries not far off from what happened in 2020 would be absolutely terrifying.