San Francisco 49ers fans got off the canvas Monday morning, still shaking out the cobwebs from Sunday’s knockout punch from the Carolina Panthers they didn’t see coming.
Now trailing Seattle by 21/2 games but refusing to concede the NFC West to the Seahawks, Niners Nation still is convinced the 49ers will bounce back from this defeat and remains confident the 49ers will not only return to the Super Bowl, but win it this time.
Besides, with a 6-3 record, the 49ers are still one of the NFL’s best teams, right?
Uh, hold that thought.
The 49ers have yet to beat a quality team, and sorry, the Green Bay Packers aren’t a quality team.
The six teams the 49ers have beaten have a combined record of 21-34 (.381 winning percentage). In those six victories, the 49ers averaged 34.6 points.
The three teams the 49ers lost to have a combined record of 21-5 (.807). In those three games, the 49ers lost by a combined score of 66-19, scoring just one touchdown. That’s a cool 6.3 points a game.
Sorry to pour orange juice on your Cheerios, 49ers fans, but those statistics don’t add up to a championship season.
The 49ers’ next opponent? Merely quarterback Drew Brees and the 7-2 New Orleans Saints, who compiled 625 yards, a single-game team record, and 40 first downs, a single-game NFL record, in a 49-17 beatdown of Dallas on Sunday night.
Niners Nation, however, can take comfort that the 49ers’ remaining seven games include only one other quality opponent – a rematch against the Seahawks at Candlestick Park on Dec. 8.
So if the 49ers lose to New Orleans and Seattle and beat the remaining five teams that have combined for a 14-31 record, San Francisco would finish 11-5, likely be good enough for a NFC wild-card spot.
But in the playoffs, being just good enough isn’t good enough.
What to watch
• Win the Super Bowl
• Win NFC Championship
• Win divisional playoff
• Win wild-card game
• Lose wild-card game
• Yes, players will fight for minutes: 95%
• No, starters need more time: 5%