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Where 49ers stand after win vs. Bucs

Schrock’s NFL Power Rankings: Where 49ers stand after win vs. Bucs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Week 11 of the 2023 NFL season was all about the unexpected.

The Bears bludgeoned the Detroit Lions for 55 minutes before collapsing in historic fashion in the Motor City. Tommy DeVito led the should-be tanking Giants to a shocking win over the Washington Commanders, Dorian Thompson-Robinson outplayed Kenny Pickett as the Browns beat the Steelers, and the Green Bay Packers are somehow back in the playoff hunt — well, kind of — after besting the Chargers.

OK, maybe some of that I should have seen coming.

Meanwhile, Brock Purdy and the 49ers detonated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium, and the NFL waved goodbye to the 2023 Bengals, whose Super Bowl hopes evaporated with Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury on Thursday night.

Here’s where each team sits after Sunday’s Week 11 action:

32. Carolina Panthers (1-9): The Panthers still don’t have an offensive identity or their first-round pick. If the Panthers can’t find someone to get the best out of Bryce Young, this could be the start of a downward spiral that will take years for the franchise to recover from.

31. Arizona Cardinals (2-9): Kyler Murray’s return at least makes the Cardinals watchable, but this is a 4-13 team that should finish at 2-15 if it knows what’s good for it.

30. New England Patriots (2-8): The Patriots were Sunday’s big winner. They didn’t have to watch Mac Jones play quarterback, and the Giants inexplicably won a game to bump the Patriots up in the race for Williams or Maye.

29. Tennessee Titans (3-7): The Titans have been outscored 140-70 on the road this season. Tennessee has two road games left – Miami and Houston – so it’s possible the Titans will finish the season 0-8 away from home.

28. New York Giants (3-8): Just like that, Tommy DeVito has cost the Giants the inside track at Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.

27. Washington Commanders (4-7): It’s about time for Riverboat Ron to set sail after losing to Tommy DeVito.

26. Chicago Bears (3-8): The Bears had a statement win slip through their fingers with a historic late-game collapse against the Lions. Chicago outplayed the first-place Lions for 55 minutes but fell apart in winning time. Don’t blame this one on Justin Fields, though. It belongs on Matt Eberflus’ ledger.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6): On paper, the Bucs should have enough to make a run at an NFC South title. They are only one game back of the first-place Saints. But the Bucs had four starters leave Sunday’s game with injuries, and the defense gave up 413 total yards to the 49ers. Red flags are everywhere.

24. Atlanta Falcons (4-6): Arthur Smith is going back to Desmond Ridder at quarterback when the Falcons exit the bye week. I give it a week until he gets frustrated and goes back to Taylor Heinicke. It feels like the coaching seat is about to get warm in Atlanta.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (5-5): This ranking only reflects the Bengals’ present and future. That’s the one without quarterback Joe Burrow. Season is over in The Jungle.

22. New York Jets (4-6): The Jets could have made a move for a quarterback and been a legitimate AFC East threat. Instead, they stuck with Zach Wilson and their season is now on life support.

21. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6): Justin Herbert’s frustration finally started to show in Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. Head coach Brandon Staley refuses to give up defensive play-calling and the decision to draft Quentin Johnston instead of Zay Flowers in Round 1 looks worse every week. I wonder how Jim Harbaugh feels about Southern California.

20. Green Bay Packers (4-6): The Packers’ rookie wide receivers finally made a splash Sunday against a Chargers defense that has only been able to stop Tyson Bagent and Zach Wilson. Aaron Jones’ injury puts a damper on this one, but the Packers are somehow “in the hunt” as we head toward December. That says more about the state of the NFC than their actual playoff prospects, though.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (5-6): The Raiders suffered their first loss under interim head coach Antonio Piece on Sunday in a game they played not to lose in Miami. Their defense played well, but the offense looked like a unit led by a first-time play-caller and rookie quarterback. The honeymoon couldn’t last forever.

18. Los Angeles Rams (4-6): The Rams took a step toward the playoffs with a win over the Seahawks on Sunday. They still face an uphill climb, especially if Cooper Kupp has to miss time with an ankle injury, but the path is there for Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford to get back to the dance.

17. New Orleans Saints (5-5): We all just need to get comfortable with the fact that Derek Carr or Jameis Winston will be quarterbacking the NFC South champion Saints on Wild Card Weekend. It’s happening. Doesn’t mean you have to watch, though.

16. Seattle Seahawks (6-4): Geno Smith’s elbow injury bears watching as the Seahawks enter a critical four-game stretch that sees them face the 49ers twice and the Eagles and Cowboys once. Smith was having a good game before he left in the third quarter. Things could go off the rails quickly if the Seahawks have to turn to Drew Lock.

15. Indianapolis Colts (5-5): That the Colts are in the hunt for a playoff spot in mid-November is a credit to Shane Steichen. The cupboard wasn’t as full in Indy as many would have you believe.

14. Minnesota Vikings (6-5): The Josh Dobbs Magic came to an end Sunday in Denver. Turnovers will do that. Expect him to rekindle that magic against a Bears team that’s allergic to winning next Monday.

13. Denver Broncos (5-5): Tip your cap to Sean Payton. The Broncos didn’t flinch after their putrid start and found their way back to .500 and are just one game back of the seventh-seeded Steelers.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4): The Steelers have been winning with smoke and mirrors all season, and it finally bit them Sunday against the Browns. Kenny Pickett continues to play abysmal football, but the Steelers’ only other option is Mitch Trubisky. Is it time for Pittsburgh to make a change to see if it can spark a dormant offense?

11. Buffalo Bills (6-5): Are the Bills back? Putting up 32 points on a Jets defense that has given elite quarterbacks fits all season is certainly a good sign. Maybe Ken Dorsey was the problem. (He wasn’t.)

10. Cleveland Browns (7-3): The Browns losing Deshaun Watson for the season makes their franchise-altering trade look worse, but the on-field impact might not be felt until we get to the playoffs. Dorian Thompson-Robinson was serviceable against a good Steelers defense Sunday. With the Browns’ elite defense on the other side, all DTR has to do is not screw it up.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3): The Jags were embarrassed by the 49ers last week and took their frustrations out on a sinking Titans team. Trevor Lawrence was surgical, and Calvin Ridley had his best game in over a month. As it turns out, the Jags are still pretty good.

8. Houston Texans (6-4): C.J. Stroud continues to rise in the MVP race, and DeMeco Ryans is your runaway Coach of the Year. Don’t sleep on the Texans’ chances of making some noise come January. With Stroud under center, they’ll have a chance in any game.

7. Dallas Cowboys (7-3): The Cowboys bludgeoned another bad team Sunday. If they handed out rings for beating the dregs of the NFL, the Cowboys’ drought would have ended long ago.

6. Miami Dolphins (7-3): The Dolphins’ win over the Raiders means little, but it was another game in which their defense allowed fewer than 20 points since Jalen Ramsey’s return. That bodes well for their playoff prospects.

5. Detroit Lions (8-2): The Lions messed around with the lowly Bears on Sunday, but made the plays needed to erase a 12-point deficit in the final five minutes to stay on track. The Lions’ offense is elite, but the defense has to take a leap for them to be considered a realistic threat to the top two in the NFC.

4. Baltimore Ravens (8-3): The Ravens have all the pieces in place to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, but Lamar Jackson will have to shake a troubling playoff reputation to get there.

3. San Francisco 49ers (7-3): Mr. Relevant was perfect Sunday against the Bucs. With Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel back and healthy, the 49ers have returned to their unstoppable wrecking ball form.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2): Eventually, the Chiefs are going to have to find a productive wide receiver to compliment Travis Kelce in the passing game. I’m not sure banking on the combination of Rashee Rice, Justin Watson, and Skyy Moore is good enough to win it all.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1): The Eagles get their Super Bowl rematch Monday night against the Chiefs. It feels like a game Philly will treat as a title bout, but the Chiefs will view it as the tune-up for February’s main event.

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