Contenders or Pretenders?

Have recently ridden a 3 game winning streak, have the 49ers really turned a new leaf, or is it another false dawn?


#10 Jimmy Garoppolo and #19 Deebo Samuel lead the team onto the field in pregame.

Ansh Singhal, Staff Writer

The San Francisco 49ers came into the season with very high expectations. With Sports Illustrated predicting an 11-6 record, Niners fans could not have been more excited. Stars like George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, and many more were expected to carry the Niners to a deep playoff run. However, with a multitude of injuries to players like Kittle, the Niners started the season slowly. Coming into Week 10 they were 3-5, at the bottom of the NFC West, and playing the mighty Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football. With everyone expecting the 49ers to lose to the Rams, they proved us all wrong with a decisive 31-10 victory. Since then, the 49ers had won two more games in a row, scoring 30+ points each week, before a heartbreaking goal line loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13. They positively responded with a tight 26-23 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Now comes the question of whether the 49ers are contenders or just pretenders.

I strongly believe that the Niners are contenders for the playoffs this year. Although they may not reach the Super Bowl, they cannot be overlooked because of the dominating style of football they have been playing. One of the 49ers’ main strong suits is their unstoppable run game. With Deebo Samuel and rookie Elijah Mitchell leading the way, the 49ers rushing attack is better than ever. Against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, they clocked in 208 rush yards with 39 rush attempts. This was a major increase from their average rush yardage per game of just 67. Elijah Mitchell is back from injury and showing why he is an upper tier running back in Kyle Shanahan’s system. Having accumulated 133 rush yards against the Vikings, Mitchell has 4 games with over 100 yards rushing. This is a rookie franchise record for the Niners and fans hope that he will continue to dominate in the backfield over the final third of the season. 

Although the 49ers are 6th seed at the moment in the NFC, their competition for the spot is very tight. At 7-6, they are only one game ahead of the rest of the pack. There are five teams that are 6-7 as of Week 14:  the New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Football Team, Atlanta Falcons, and Philadelphia Eagles. With so many teams in the hunt for the wild card spots, the Niners need to continually play well for the rest of the season. Ultimately, the San Francisco 49ers are looking solid this year and hopefully can have a good playoff run.