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HomeSportsWeek 14 NFL Power Rankings: 49ers Impress, Along with Worst-Case Scenarios

Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: 49ers Impress, Along with Worst-Case Scenarios

Last week, the Power Rankings looked at the best-case scenario for all 32 NFL teams, but it’s late in the season and we’ve had to watch so many bad Jets quarterbacks that it’s taken all the optimism out of us. So this week, we’re looking at the worst-case scenario for each team as the season heads down the stretch.

Obviously, the real answer for most teams would be an injury to their starting quarterback and/or superstar, but we don’t want to jinx anyone (and we certainly don’t want to hear about it in the comments) so we’re trying to be more creative than that in most cases.

In the case of our new No. 1, though, we couldn’t come up with anything because, man, the 49ers looked like a monster on Sunday.

1. San Francisco 49ers (9-3)(Last week 4)Sunday: Beat Philadelphia Eagles 42-19Worst case: Bumps and/or bruisesWhen the 49ers are healthy, they are scary. They hoped to prove that Brock Purdy’s injury in the NFC Championship Game was the only reason they didn’t beat the Eagles and advance to the Super Bowl last season. Mission accomplished. Deebo Samuel, who talked the most trash coming into the game, scored three touchdowns. When he, Purdy and left tackle Trent Williams are all healthy, San Francisco has scored at least 27 points this season.Up next: vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 p.m. ET SundayGO DEEPERThe MVP race through 13 weeks and Brock Purdy’s growing case: Sando’s Pick Six

(Last week: 2)Sunday: ByeWorst case: Roquan Smith regressionSince the Ravens sent the Bears second- and fifth-round picks for Smith on Oct. 31 last year, Baltimore is first in the NFL in yards per play allowed (4.5), third in defensive success rate (62 percent) and third in EPA per snap (12.8). In that span, the linebacker is fourth in the league in defensive splash plays (66), according to TruMedia. Sure, Lamar Jackson is integral to Baltimore’s success, but don’t overlook Smith’s impact.Up next: vs. Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m. ET Sunday

(Last week: 5)Thursday: Beat Seattle Seahawks 41-35Worst case: Down day from DakThe Cowboys can beat anybody when Dak Prescott plays like he did Thursday night against the Seahawks. Prescott was 29-for-41 for 299 yards and three touchdowns, and Dallas scored on eight of its nine possessions. For the season, he is second in EPA per attempt (0.30) and passer rating (108.3). However, Dak does have “those days.” He’s had a negative EPA per attempt twice this year. The Cowboys have lost both games (to Arizona and San Francisco).Up next: vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill has 21 career touchdowns of 60 yards or longer, including two on Sunday. (Al Diaz / Miami Herald / Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

(Last week: 6)Sunday: Beat Washington Commanders 45-15Worst case: Any tweak for TyreekTyreek Hill remains on pace to be the first player in league history with more than 2,000 receiving yards in a season after catching five passes for 157 yards Sunday. He had 78- and 60-yard touchdown catches and leads the NFL with 1,496 yards from scrimmage. More than half of his touches go for a first down or touchdown, but he’s such a finely tuned speed machine that you constantly worry that even the slightest imbalance might throw the whole thing out of whack.Up next: vs. Tennessee Titans, 8:15 p.


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