The 49ers are looking to accomplish a feat that hasn't been done since the 2014 season. No NFC team has reached two straight Super Bowls since the Seattle Seahawks since they fell to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX after beating the Denver Broncos the year before.
Will the 49ers run it back and reach Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay? ESPN's Football Power Index ranks San Francisco as the third-best team in the NFL, and best in the NFC, with a projected 10.2 wins going into the 2020 season. But another NFC team actually has better Super Bowl odds than the 49ers.
Though the New Orleans Saints come in as the second-best NFC team by ESPN's FPI, they have a 13 percent chance to make the Super Bowl, one place higher than the 49ers' 12 percent odds. The Saints have an 83 percent chance of making the playoffs, and the 49ers are slightly lower at 81 percent. Here's why.
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New Orleans faces a slightly easier schedule than San Francisco, and is a little more likely to win the NFC South (59 percent) than the 49ers are to win the NFC West (53 percent). Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should push Drew Brees and the Saints, but the NFC West might have become even more competitive in the offseason.
All in all, ESPN's FPI gives the Kansas City Chiefs (21 percent) the best Super Bowl odds, with the Baltimore Ravens (17 percent) behind them and ahead of both the Saints and 49ers. The schedule towards the end of the season doesn't help the 49ers, too.
Prior to the 49ers clashing with the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17, San Francisco has to face the Buffalo Bills, Washington, the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. Seattle, by comparison, will host the New York Giants and New York Jets in back-to-back weeks to open December before flying to Washington and then heading back home to face the Los Angeles Rams.
Projections, power rankings and strength of schedule on paper only tells us so much. The Niners opened a lot of eyes last season, and will look to pull a New England Patriots and avenge a devastating Super Bowl loss this season.