Chicago Sun-Times

Sched­ule sets up well for banged-up 49ers

- MARK POTASH mpotash@sun­times.com | @MarkPo­tash Sports · College Sports · American Football · Super Bowl · NFL Football · San Francisco 49ers · Los Angeles Rams · NFL · St. Louis Cardinals · New York Jets · New York Giants · Joey Bosa · Deebo Samuel · Jimmy Garoppolo · George Kittle

The Su­per Bowl loser’s curse comes and goes.

From 2000 to ’07, seven con­sec­u­tive Su­per Bowl losers did not make the play­offs the next sea­son. From 2008 to ’14, seven straight Su­per Bowl losers made the play­offs the next sea­son.

In the last four sea­sons, the 2018 Rams and 2015 Pan­thers have flopped af­ter play­ing in the Big Game.

Will the 49ers be the next? They fit the pro­file as a nou­veau riche con­tender — they were 25-55 from 2014 to ’17 and went from 4-12 to 13-3 and Su­per Bowl LIV. And they’re in a com­pet­i­tive divi­sion. The Sea­hawks and Rams have Su­per Bowl quar­ter­backs.

But the 49ers also had some fac­tors in their fa­vor. Their de­fense is their strength — solid at all three lev­els with a su­pe­rior pass rush led by Joey Bosa. And while quar­ter­back Jimmy Garop­polo is an X-factor, the 49ers’ of­fense is rush­ing-based and di­ver­si­fied — No. 2 in the NFL last year with three rush­ers with 500 or more yards.

But af­ter a 24-20 loss at home to the Car­di­nals last week, you have to won­der. With Deebo Samuel out (bro­ken foot), 49ers wide re­ceivers had just two catches for 20 yards. Now tight end Ge­orge Kit­tle has a sprained knee that lim­ited him to four catches for 44 yards — none in the sec­ond half.

Just a bump in the road or a sign of things to come? Too early to tell. Right now, the sched­ule is their best friend — the Jets this week and the Giants next.

Pick: 49ers 26, Jets 10.

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