49ers' 'death machine' tops NFL Network's latest Power Rankings originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
It seems like there's no stopping the 49ers as the team barrels down its competition across a current eight-game winning streak.
And heading into Week 17, NFL Network's Dan Hanzus has San Francisco as the league's No. 1 team in his latest Power Rankings -- along with a perfect, yet frightening, analogy.
"The Niners are a fully-formed death machine crushing everything in their way right now," Hanzus said Tuesday on "NFL Now."
The 49ers are flying high after clinching the NFC West for the first time since 2019, and they most certainly have a Super Bowl appearance on their minds heading into the playoffs. But first, they have to get through the Las Vegas Raiders and Arizona Cardinals as the regular season comes to an end.
If they can keep up the dominance they've displayed thus far, that shouldn't be a problem. As Hanzus pointed out, everything is working for San Francisco despite losing two starting quarterbacks to injury this season.
"… It’s a bunch of things that have come together here for the Niners," Hanzus continued. "Obviously, the defense led by Nick Bosa is dominant. DeMeco Ryans has got them coached up, they’re playing out of their minds. We know what’s going on with Brock Purdy who’s stepped in and done exactly, best-case scenario, what they could have hoped for from a rookie, seventh-round pick.
"So, the offense has stayed afloat with, oh, by the way, Deebo Samuel out of the lineup."
Samuel, who suffered both ankle and knee injuries in Week 14, could return to 49ers practice soon, rejuvenating an already-lethal offense that helps place San Francisco above the Philadelphia Eagles in Hanzus' eyes.
"And the reason they jump ahead of the Eagles, it’s simple," Hanzus said. "It’s just, this team is playing at a top level on both sides of the ball, while the Eagles now are going through a little bit of stuff with Jalen Hurts out of the lineup one week. They lose to the [Dallas] Cowboys. Lane Johnson’s injury is huge -- we’re going to see what that means for their running game and their passing game. So, Niners jump a spot. I still love the Eagles, but this is where it is."
The 49ers' depth and next-man-up mentality has helped them overcome injuries to key players on offense and defense this season, while the Eagles weren't able to overcome setbacks of their own against Dallas. Even without a catalyst like Samuel on the field at the moment, they've outlasted their opponents and have proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with.
Following their eighth straight win over the Washington Commanders at Levi's Stadium on Saturday, San Francisco has plenty of momentum heading into the postseason no matter how their final two games turn out.
But if there's one team ready to continue "crushing everything in their way," the 49ers look the part.