Skip to main content
Publish date:

49ers won 13 games, but how many were against good teams?

We're not the only one to have questioned the 49ers' schedule.
Author:

San Francisco's defense is as imposing as they get on paper, but just how good are they? 

  • Points: 19.4/game (8th)
  • Yards: 281.1/game (2nd)
  • Pass yards: 169.2/game (1st)
  • Rush yards: 112.6/game (17th)

Most of those numbers are impressive, and they posted those totals despite pass-rushing specialist Dee Ford and inside linebacker Kwon Alexander missing a bunch of games in the second half of the season. And it's no coincidence that San Francisco's defense faltered in the final month of the regular season without them. 

Ford's injury, a hamstring strain, followed a similar path that Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen took. Both tried to return shortly after their injuries only to aggravate them and miss more time. Now Ford is supposedly closer to 100 percent. 

Either way, just how good is the 49er defense? Minnesota will find out Saturday, but the quality of offenses they faced during the regular season raises doubts about how great they are, and we're not the first to question them.  

On Halloween, after San Francisco's blistering start to the season in which they limited opposing quarterbacks to pass for 100 or fewer yards in four straight games, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu tweeted: "Who the hell they been playing against?"

It's a fair question, especially since they went 5-3 in the second half – against tougher competition – after starting 8-0. 

Look at the teams they faced: 

Week 1: Buccaneers, with QB Jameis Winston throwing 3 of his NFL-high 30 interceptions. 

Week 2: Bengals, the worst team in the NFL. 

Week 3: Steelers, with backup QB Mason Rudolph starting. 

Week 5: Browns, with QB Baker Mayfield, who finished 31st in the NFL in passer rating. 

Week 6: Rams, who were in an early slump with three straight losses. 

Week 7: Redskins, a bad team in a game played in heavy rain. 

Week 8: Panthers, a game played at home against backup QB Kyle Allen. 

Week 9: Cardinals, a 3-point win over a team led by a rookie QB, Kyler Murray. 

Week 10: Seahawks, an overtime home loss for the 'Niners. 

Week 11: Cardinals, this time at home and they still allowed 26 points. 

Week 12: Packers, a dominating 37-8 victory over Aaron Rodgers and company. 

Week 13: Ravens, a 20-17 road loss in a defensive battle.

Week 14: Saints, a 48-46 road victory, but they gave up 46 (!) points. 

Week 15: Falcons, a 29-22 home loss to a bad team. 

Week 16: Rams, a 34-31 win but they gave up 21 first-half points. 

Week 17: Seahawks, the 49ers held on to win by an inch. A good win, nonetheless. 

The wins over the Packers and Seahawks were solid, while a three-point loss at Baltimore is nothing to scoff at. But their 8-0 start is largely attributable to the lack of quality offenses they faced. That cannot be denied. 

At the same time, Minnesota really didn't have a great win during the regular season, but they did just win at New Orleans in the playoffs, so that means quite a bit. 

Like we said, the Vikings will find out how good the 49ers' defense is on Saturday, but there's no question that Minnesota's offense will be among the best the 'Niners have faced this season. 

Next Up

unsplash medical marijuana

Edibles coming to Minnesota's medical marijuana program

MDH also announced it will not add anxiety as qualifying condition.

plow, snowplow, snow

Plowable snow possible this weekend in Minnesota

Up to half a foot of snow could fall within the heaviest band.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Best Buy thefts

A large group stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from three Twin Cities Best Buy stores.

Seven Points exterior - 2

New tenant revealed for former Libertine spot in Uptown

The space will combine playful art offerings with a restaurant.

white Christmas

What are Minnesota's chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Twin Cities averages a white Christmas about 3 out of every 4 years.

ilhan omar press conference voicemail screengrab 11.30.21

'You will not live much longer b***': Rep. Omar shares threatening voicemail

Omar's office received the call hours after Rep. Boebert posted her video about the MN congresswoman.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 11.24.09 AM

ESPN's 'Booger' makes fun of Wild fans' record cup snake

He's the same guy who thought the "Minneapolis Miracle" was bad for the Vikings.

brian ingram

Woodfired Cantina closes at Keg and Case in St. Paul

Restaurateur Brian Ingram is focusing on growing his other concepts.

giant bear

Video: 'THE fattest bear we have ever seen' spotted on MN trail camera

"This might be THE fattest bear we have ever seen in our area," researchers said.

u.s. attorney

Guilty plea from man who stockpiled guns, equipment to make bombs, drugs

Prosecutors say he had multiple guns, items to make weapons and pipe bombs, and lab equipment to make drugs.

Related

Anthony Barr

Here we go again: Vikings big underdogs against 49ers

Minnesota is a big underdog despite plenty of evidence that they can hang with the 'Niners.

Linval Joseph

Ideal playoff opponent for Vikings if they get the No. 6 seed

Would your rather the Vikings face the 49ers, Packers, Seahawks or Saints?

Kirk Cousins

The Kirk Cousins rumor mill is getting extremely juicy

There is a lot of talk about Cousins and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.

Mackensie Alexander

Reports: Knee surgery to keep Alexander out against 49ers

The fourth-year cornerback has one interception this season.

Xavier Rhodes

High 'Opes podcast: 49ers an easier playoff opponent for Vikings?

The 'Niners went 13-3, but just how good are they?

Kirk Cousins

Is it a 4-team race for the final NFC playoff spot?

The key for Minnesota likely requires winning on the road against two top NFC teams.

Kirk Cousins

How the Vikings can get a top-3 seed in the NFC playoffs

The No. 1 is still within reach, but it would take a miracle.