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2021 NFL Power Rankings: San Francisco 49ers

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the San Francisco 49ers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

Below you will find a Week 15 roundup for the 49ers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 11

The numbers bear out pretty much exactly what the 49ers have been this season: a middling team capable of beating or losing to, well, anybody. The Niners have been at their best when the offense is able to control the ball and the clock and the defense comes up with timely takeaways or red zone stops. But special teams also have played a significant role in at least two losses, and though that unit was much improved against the Bengals in Week 14, continued improvement will be needed to elevate the Niners beyond what looks like a limited ceiling at the moment. -- Nick Wagoner

NFL.com -- Rank: 11

George Kittle is a historically great tight end. To wit: Kittle piled up 13 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's wild overtime win over the Bengals, becoming the first tight end in NFL history to post 150-plus receiving yards and a touchdown in back-to-back games. Jimmy Garoppolo and Brandon Aiyuk connected on the dramatic touchdown pass that clinched the win and put San Francisco in playoff position with four games to play, but Kittle remains Kyle Shanahan's most vital asset. When Kittle's in the lineup, the Niners can beat anyone. Remove him from the mix, and they are ordinary.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 14

Pulling out a big overtime victory at Cincinnati has them in the playoffs right now. Jimmy Garoppolo has played well this season.

USA Today -- Rank: 12

George Kittle deserves the headlines, the first tight end ever with consecutive games of at least 150 receiving yards and a TD. But credit WR Brandon Aiyuk, who's turned his season around after being sparingly used in the first half of it.

The Athletic -- Rank: 13

Worst-case scenario: With a playoff spot on the line in Week 18, Jimmy Garoppolo is wildly inaccurate, throwing three interceptions in the first half. Desperate for a spark and done with the Garoppolo experience, Kyle Shanahan finally brings in rookie quarterback Trey Lance. Lance, who hasn't attempted a pass in a game since Week 5, is sacked four times and throws two picks of his own, sending the 49ers into a depressing offseason in which they need to deal Garoppolo but without a whole lot of proof for why they should be excited about the start of the Lance era in 2022.

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