Power ranking the 49ers potential playoff opponents

The 49ers will be home for their first game of the playoffs. Everything beyond that is still in question.

Depending on how the final week of the regular season plays out San Francisco could find itself anywhere from the one to three seed in the NFC. This leaves every team in the NFC playoff picture as a potential opponent.

Here is my power ranking based on how each team matches up with the 49ers.

8.) New York Giants

New York will be the number six seed. Daniel Jones is not a quarterback who will scare anyone, but he has shown the ability to move. Jones has been sacked on 8.92 percent of his drop backs, worst among NFC playoff teams.

The Giants have a solid wide receiver in Darius Slayton and Saquon Barkely has been strong this season at running back. There is no one else on the offense that should scare the 49ers.

New York’s defense has given up the second most yards per rushing attempt this season and the 12th most points per possession.

7.) Seattle Seahawks

The 49ers swept their NFC West rivals in the playoffs. They are clearly the better team, but can they beat the Seahawks three times in one season? They couldn’t do it last year against the Rams.

6.) Detroit Lions

The Lions are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. After a 1-6 start to the season, they have won seven of their last nine.

Led by Jared Goff, Detroit’s offense has scored the fourth most points in the league.

Goff has cut down on mistakes this year, throwing only seven on 553 attempts. His offensive line has done a good job of keeping his uniform clean by allowing the second lowest sack percentage (3.99) in the NFC.

Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift gives the Lions a solid 1-2 punch in the run game and Amron St. Brown has over 1,100 yards receiving.

The question for Detroit is defense. They have allowed the second most net yards per pass attempt and third most yards per rush attempt. On the positive side they have forced 20 turnovers and have a plus-five turnover differential.

5.) Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota has been living on the razor’s edge all season with 11 of their 16 games decided by one possession.

The Vikings defense has allowed the second most points in the league along with the third highest net yards per pass attempt. They are ripe for the picking against the 49ers offense.

Kirk Cousins has plenty of firepower at his disposal with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen at receiver, and T.J. Hockenson at tight end. Dalvin Cook provides a solid running game as well with 1,136 yards and eight touchdowns.

4.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

San Francisco blew out the Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium in week 14. Tampa Bay was playing without both of its starting safeties, Vita Vea, and right tackle Tristan Wirfs.

Tom Brady has been sacked on only 2.99% of his drop backs this season. The veteran’s quick release helping his offensive line out.

Tampa Bay’s defense is one of the tougher matchups in the league when healthy. They have allowed the fifth lowest net yards per pass this year.

3.) Green Bay Packers

Like Detroit, the Packers are getting hot at the right time.

Green Bay has a strong running game in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, Allen Lazard leads a receiving corps that is starting to come around, and Robert Tonyan provides a solid option at tight end.

Aaron Rodgers may be the best quarterback in the NFC playoffs with his ability to make plays from the pocket or on the move. In addition, he’s been sacked on only 5.3% of his drop backs, fourth best in the NFC.

The Packers have turned it around on defense as well, allowing just 20 point or less over their last four games. Led by Jaire Alexander, 17 of Green Bay’s 24 forced turnovers have come from interceptions.

2.) Dallas Cowboys

Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott force opponents to focus on the run. This opens opportunities in the passing game for CeeDee Lamb and tight end Dalton Schultz.

Dak Prescott has struggled with turnovers recently, but his mobility could cause trouble for the 49ers defense.

Dallas has recorded 51 sacks this season and forced a league high 32 turnovers. They are second in the league with 28.8 points scored per game while allowing only 19.8.

1.) Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia has everything to matchup well with the 49ers. Strong running game. Strong wide receivers. Solid tight end. A defense that gets after the quarterback and forces turnovers.

The Eagles were 13-1 before losing Jalen Hurts for a couple weeks due to a shoulder injury. If he is fully healthy and able to play the same way he was prior to the injury watch out.

This article has 22 Comments

  1. In my experence, the regular season results have very little to do with how teams play in the SB tournament.
    Some teams are just releived to be in , others are exhausted. Some teams are nervous and play tight.
    There is always one or two teams who have the strength and focus to contend for the trophy.
    It is very difficult to step back and see the team who you root for in an objective light.
    As one poster here said “it is all subjective”
    So here goes: I think John Lynch has put together a team who have the focus and physical strength to not only contend but win this years SB trophy.
    In my eyes ,they have passed every test , jumped every hurdle that members of this board have brought up.
    Earlier this year I stated that this Shanahan’s team and they will go as far as he brings them.
    He is ready to take them to the top of the NFL.
    The 9ers will win this years SB
    Go 9ers.

  2. To the many acolytes of Kyle Michael Shanahan on this blog, trust me on this. The coaching genius will fail you. Whether it’s against the Eagles, the Cowboys, even the Packers or Vikings, somehow and someway, the genius will find a way to muck things up before reaching the Super Bowl. As the astute Keshawn Johnson has so astutely observed, KS has a tendency to “tighten up”(i.e. choke) in big games and tighten up he will once again. Trust me. Your confidence in this guy is misguided and sorely misplaced.

    1. After a great deal of consideration and reflection I have come to a sincerely held belief that I hope you internalize and take to heart: You are a football imbecile who should seriously consider never ever ever ever watching another football game since you clearly have absolutely no clue what you are talking about. Take up knitting, or ear hair trimming, or oyster shucking – anything less mentally taxing that you have a remote possibility of actually understanding. Good luck to you my mental midget friend.

    2. Ridiculous comment. His teams has been to the playoffs 3 of the past 4 years and it is a very strong team, fully capable of winning it all. Shanahan is universally recognized as one of the better head coaches. You on the other hand offer nothing. Trust you? Laughable.

    3. Though you so eloquently state you dislike and mistrust in Kyle Shanahan…I have to agree with 1.6..you have assured every reader here that you are, in fact, a person of imbecilic mentality

  3. The Eagles and Packers scare me. Our D Back field scares me. Our D vs. mobile QB’s scare me. The former makes the Packers a tough match up while the latter make the Eagles a tough match up. The historical lack of success of rookie qbs in the playoffs doesn’t bode well for the 49ers. It has been an incredible year, highly exciting and entertaining but I won’t be laying any money on the 9ers making the SB. I hope i’m wrong.

    1. You are spot on, as always, Old Coach. Just can’t see this team reaching the SB with a rookie QB and seriously suspect secondary. But what the heck! It’s been a magical season and no matter how far the Niners do get in the playoffs, I’ll be a happy 49ers fan.

    2. Funny how you always look at what you consider weaknesses and ignore the strengths of this team. Sure there are weaknesses as there is with any team, but the strengths of this team are superb. The Niners are as good as any team and have a good chance to win it all,

    3. I tend to agree with you on the Packers OC. 49ers biggest defensive weakness is against the passing game and Rodgers is playing well. Plus they will be very supercharged after their recent playoff losses against the 49ers. I can’t quite articulate it well enough but I feel less concerned about the Eagles. I really think the 49ers match up well against the Eagles. I think our D-line is better than their O-line and their O-line is great. I’m a huge Jalen Hurts fan but he’s a product of his scheme and I think the 49ers can defeat any system QBs through Demeco’s game plans. The other team that scares me just a bit is the Lions. They are playing well and Jameson Williams is coming into his own. I think he will be a Justin Jefferson type force next year. 49ers have a hard time with elite WRs. Davante Adams just went off with 7 catches for 153 yards and 2 TDs with Jarrett Stidham QBing. That is one of the reasons the Vikings give me pause. Justin Jefferson is going to be pissed going into the playoffs after his game against the Packers. But, ultimately, I do think the 49ers would trounce the Vikings. My real concern is if the 49ers get into a game where they have to score a bunch of points to win. That is hard in the playoffs for a rookie QB. I think Purdy can do it but everything is amplified in the playoffs. Which is also why I was super happy about the game against the Raiders. That was invaluable experience for the playoffs for Purdy and the entire team.

      1. Pat,
        If I had to pick a third team I am concerned with it would be the Lions. I agree with you having to score 35 points or more may be difficult for the rookie led 9ers. If I was forced to root for any other team than the 9ers it would be the Lions. The fans of Det. deserve some Joy after decades of misery.

        1. Man, you are not kidding. Loyal Detroit Lions season ticket holders have to be some of the best sports fans out there. They definitely deserve to see some success. Dan Campbell is a little too much emotional show for me but my boys love him. They say players will run through walls for guys like that and they are probably right. He just comes across a little too manufactured and staged to me. Probably says more about me than him but there’s something about him that just doesn’t sit right to me.

  4. Felix,
    Its a football blog. I said it was an incredible, exciting and entertaining season and I enjoyed it very much. I thought we were giving our opinions about how the 9ers would do in the playoffs. If I was predicting that they would make the SB I would highlight the things that were going well. Since I am predicting that they will lose to Phil or GB i am highlighting what I feel will get them beat. It has been a great year because much has gone very well needless to say. If all of us only talked about what went well and just always agreed with each other it would be a very boring place around here. I always try to disagree respectfully but I do enjoy a good discussion with other fans who don;t always agree with me. The difference between you and I is I at least attempt to be respectful. Go Niners

    1. Guess I touched a nerve. You give your opinion and I give mine which is that you are a glass half empty guy.

      1. It takes all kinds to run an organization; just like it takes all types in pretty much anything. Diversity of thought isn’t a disadvantage.

        I think Richard Branson indicated once that as a strong belief-guided visionary he sought to build out his direct reports with a bunch of cautious bean counter types, just so his weaknesses would be covered.

        You have those that throw caution to the wind and they accomplish incredible things. In the same vein it also takes cautious types to see the reality of things, so you’re not risking everything nor missing opportunities to better yourself.

        Perhaps you can focus on commenters’ positions a bit more and the person themselves a bit less. And yes, it’s just my humble opinion and north worth its weight in anything.

  5. .,..9er since ’56….…knew handful of players, including Joe!….in a Cinderella season… isn’t having a rook take us to the promised land and bringing home the trophy…A PURDY GOOD DAMN DEAL!…….NINERRRRS!!!!!

  6. Felix,
    I have no idea what kind of man you are. I guess I’m just not a judgmental kinda guy.

    1. Old Coach
      While most sports fans that post on blogs enjoy exchanging their viewpoints. As I’m sure you’re aware, there are also those that post who live vicariously thru their hero(s). And they feel threatened and make it personal when you disagree with them.
      Unfortunately, there are also insecure haters that feel the need to run KS down, for reasons only they know. And when you Respond it only enables them.
      As Famed humorist Mark Twain said: “Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

      1. Geep,
        I know, I know. I kick myself every time I engage with certain posters and promise myself I won’t do it again and then……

      2. As a 9er faithful From the beginning (1946) I always try to think positively. So for the most part I like KS. The only thing I would say he did wrong and I think it was a major blunder. That was his anointing Lance the starter. With his limited experience he should have been the backup to Jimmie so he could learn his craft.

  7. Even after the 49ers defense gave up a lot of real estate against the raiders, they are still the number one ranked defense in the NFL.

    Obviously, there are some clear concerns for the D going forward as they prepare for the playoffs.
    The defensive secondary has to be at full optimum. The raiders laid out a blueprint on how to score against the 49ers.

    While the secondary took much of the brunt for the raiders high scoring, the LB crew has to take some blame as well. Warner was penalized a couple of times, and was physically beat by raiders TE, Waller in the endzone.
    Azeez was caught out of position a few times and was slow on reaction on making tackles.
    Of course, it didn’t help the cause when Greenlaw went out.

    Imho, if the 49ers had been desperately fighting just to make the playoffs, they would have demolished the raiders. I’ll chock this last game up as a less motivated 49ers team than were the raiders who were in a desperate position.

    I expect to see all pistons firing for the 49ers D once the playoffs begin.
    Like I’ve said on several occasions, the 49ers can beat any team we go up against and that includes the Eagles, Cowboys, NY, Bucs and any AFC team they play in the SB.

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