“They would beat anyone in the NFL right now”: 49ers claim top spot in two Week 17 power rankings

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers look to keep their winning streak going and become the first Niners team to win nine consecutive games since 1997. They have already clinched the NFC West title, a home playoff game, and remain in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.

The 49ers have a rookie quarterback, Brock Purdy, leading the offense. He’s supported by several playmakers and the league’s best defense. Purdy has completed nearly 69 percent of his passes for 846 yards, eight touchdowns, and two interceptions since taking over for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13.

Purdy has many wondering what the 49ers will do at quarterback next season. Could we be speeding towards a competition between Purdy and Trey Lance? Or will the rookie continue his impressive run and show head coach Kyle Shanahan that he should be the future in Santa Clara?

“I’m trying to think about how to get him ready for Wednesday (practice), man,” Shanahan responded when asked about next season’s quarterback situation. “That’s a great question, but honestly, I don’t look ahead like that. We’ve got a number of big games in front of us.”

Next up for San Francisco is a road game against the Las Vegas Raiders and then a home game against the Arizona Cardinals. Then the team kicks off its playoff run.

Below is a sample of some of the more prominent power rankings around the web and where San Francisco currently stands within each. The highest rankings are listed first.

NFL.com
Current Ranking: 1
Previous rank: 2
“The 49ers are a fully-formed death machine destroying everything in their way. The defense is led by Nick Bosa, who likely clinched NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors with a dominant performance in Saturday’s 37-20 win over the Commanders. Bosa finished with two sacks and a forced fumble and now has a career-high 17.5 sacks with two games to play. Brock Purdy, meanwhile, is 3-0 as a starter after another productive game that featured two long TD passes to George Kittle. ‘He’s just getting the ball to us,’ Kittle said. ‘He’s great with the football. He puts it on target. He allows guys to run with it.’ This is exactly what Kyle Shanahan asks from his QB in this offense.” — Dan Hanzus

Pro Football Talk

Current Ranking: 1
Previous rank: 4
“They would beat anyone in the NFL right now. If that doesn’t make them No. 1, what does?” — Mike Florio

ESPN
Current Ranking: 4
Previous rank: 5
“Defining moment from the 2022 calendar year: There are plenty of moments to pick from, including McCaffrey’s touchdown pass earlier in the game, but this catch not only spurred the Niners to a win against the Rams but began the turnaround of their season. General manager John Lynch has called McCaffrey a ‘force multiplier’ for the many ways he affects a game, and McCaffrey provided a touchdown three ways against the Rams. The leaping catch served as a harbinger for the current eight-game winning streak that has elevated the 49ers from 3-4 no-man’s-land to NFC West champs and legitimate Super Bowl contenders.” — Nick Wagoner

Sporting News
Current Ranking: 4
Previous rank: 4
“The 49ers’ rolled their eighth straight victory as Brock Purdy continues to take advantage of elite blocking and premier weapons such as Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle. The defense makes a rookie QB’s life much easier, too.” — Vinnie Iyer

USA Today
Current Ranking: 4
Previous rank: 4
“TE George Kittle has four TD grabs over the past two weeks … matching total from his first 11 appearances of 2022. He’s the first Niner with multiple scoring catches in successive games since Terrell Owens in 2002.” — Nate Davis

Yahoo! Sports
Current Ranking: 4
Previous rank: 4
“Since the 49ers’ last loss on Oct. 23, they’re 8-0 and their average margin of victory is 16.6 points. It might not matter who their quarterback is if they’re up on every opponent by two touchdowns. Oh, and Deebo Samuel should be back soon.” — Frank Schwab

The Athletic
Current Ranking: 5
Previous rank: 5
“If my calculations are right, Brock Purdy at this pace will become the NFL’s all-time winningest quarterback (including playoffs) in the regular-season finale of the 2036 season. There are obviously some variables, like how many more wins Tom Brady accrues on top of his current 285 before retiring, whether the regular-season schedule expands to 18 games and how often Purdy will end up resting when his undefeated Niners teams have sewn up their No. 1 seeds. Otherwise, it seems like a pretty straight line to immortality. We are all witnesses.” — Bo Wulf

Bleacher Report
Current Ranking: 5
Previous rank: 5
“You cannot stop Brock Purdy. You can only hope to contain him. There may not be a more surprising story in the league this year than the ascension of Purdy, the rookie quarterback who was the last pick in the 2022 draft. Purdy had another efficient game in Saturday’s win over Washington, throwing for 234 yards and two touchdowns. … San Francisco racked up 153 rushing yards in the win, averaging almost six yards per carry. Edge-rusher Nick Bosa picked up two sacks, raising his league -leading total to 17.5. The Niners run the ball as well as any team in the league. They play defense as well as any team in the league. And if Purdy can avoid turnovers and mistakes, the Niners are plenty capable of a deep playoff run.” — NFL Staff

CBS Sports

Current Ranking: 5
Previous rank: 5
“They are winning games and could end up as the second seed if the Vikings stumble. Brock Purdy continues to play well.” — Pete Prisco

The Ringer
Current Ranking: 5
Previous rank: 5
“Brock Purdy’s 49ers are Super Bowl contenders. The 49ers are undefeated in their last four games with Purdy at the helm, and they’ve had the third-ranked scoring offense in that same stretch of games. Purdy still isn’t throwing the ball downfield a ton, but he doesn’t have to. The floor of the offense is already so high with Kyle Shanahan pulling the strings and the 49ers’ elite cast of weapons; Purdy just needs to distribute and keep the offense on schedule.” — Austin Gayle

Sports Illustrated
Current Ranking: 6
Previous rank: 3
“Defending the 49ers right now is like trying to catch raindrops. The sheer volume of absolutely gutting playmakers is staggering. Right now, it’s been George Kittle at center stage. Next week? Who knows.” — Conor Orr

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