What a difference a couple of weeks make. The San Francisco 49ers were the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Well, by this time next week they might be longshots to win their own division. It didn’t help their support that the Seattle Seahawks scored a win over the New England Patriots, and that the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals are off to 2-0 starts as well.
Let’s look at the divisional odds, as they are currently posted at BetOnline:
Odds to Win NFC West
|Team||BetOnline Odds||Vegas Odds (Caesars)|
|Los Angeles Rams||+290||+290|
|San Francisco 49ers||+325||+300|
The Niners came away with a 31-13 win over the New York Jets last Sunday. But they were a big loser in a lot of ways. They lost TWO starting defensive linemen, both of whom are high-impact guys. Solomon Thomas and Nick Bosa will both be out of action for the rest of the season with torn ACL’s.
And that’s just the beginning. Raheem Mostart, their #1 back, who ran for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage against the Giants, won’t play this week because of a knee injury. Tevin Coleman is also out, which leaves San Francisco with Jerick McKinnon, but without the kind of depth they like to work with.
Jimmy Garoppolo, who had completed 14 of 16 passes, left the game with a high ankle sprain, with Nick Mullens taking over.
Deebo Samuel, one of the team’s top receivers, is on injured reserve. Cornerback Richard Sherman is on IR as well. Also, center Weston Richburg. Dee Ford, a pass-rushing defensive end, is on the shelf.
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan has found something to blame the most recent injuries on – the new turf that has been installed at MetLife Stadium, which he described as “sticky.” he is very serious about it, and says that a lot of his players were complaining about it.
So it’s already giving them a complex. And it wouldn’t be carrying so much weight if not for the fact that the 49ers have to go back to the Meadowlands this week for a game with the Giants. So did they go all the way back to the west coast, only to have to come back across country again? No, but they went to the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia for the week of preparation.
Shanahan is spooked enough about the turf that he is giving a lot of thought as to how to use his players – and that includes George Kittle, the All-Pro tight end who is just getting over an injury. That’s not a great place to be. And we say that especially considering that the Giants, who have conducted a number of practices at MetLife and played there against Pittsburgh, don’t see any problem with the turf at all.
It looks as if the Niners (+1400 to win the Super Bowl at BetOnline) are going to be playing with a skeleton crew, particularly if Garoppolo can’t play and has to give away to Mullens again. And the Giants, even with Saquon Barkley having been lost for the season with an ACL tear, may be bringing a psychological advantage into the proceedings.
So yes, by the next time we talk to you, the Niners could be in that strange position of being a longshot, less than a year removed from being ahead by ten points in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.