49ers free fall in USA TODAY power rankings continues

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The 49ers don’t have much going right for them heading into their toughest game of the year. They’re 0-2 in their last two and are trying to ward off the injury bug that derailed them so early in the 2020 campaign. Their on-field play is reflected in their precipitous fall in the USA TODAY power rankings, where they presently reside at No. 19 — four spots below their Week 4 status and eight spots below their Week 3 status.

Once again their health is going to play a key role in just how far they get into some kind of playoff push, and they have a prime chance to turn their season around in Week 5 in Arizona. Via USA TODAY’s Nate Davis:

They were 2-0 five minutes ago. Now their quarterback is hurt, their kicker is hurt, and Niners are in danger of losing sight of division-leading Cardinals if they buckle again in desert this Sunday.

It sounds like Jimmy Garoppolo might be able to play in Arizona after he was diagnosed with a calf contusion. Left tackle Trent Williams also got good news on the shoulder injury that knocked him out of Sunday’s game against Seattle, and he might be ready by Arizona.

If San Francisco loses to the Cardinals, who are now the No. 1 team in the USA TODAY rankings, they could see a drop with no real chance to climb back for several weeks.

The real dose of reality is that the 49ers are ranked right in the middle of the league along with the rest of the teams dabbling in mediocrity, and it’s been earned through four weeks. They’ve been the definition of a middle-of-the-road team, and it feels even worse than that given the expectations they had entering the year.