Preseason schedule prognostication had the 49ers’ second half looking like a gauntlet. Their Week 1 loss to the Bears and a Week 3 loss to the Broncos looked like they might derail another trip to the playoffs with a handful of brutal games to close the first half and open the second half.
Now things look a little less dire for the 49ers, though desperation over the final nine games will still be prevalent. San Francisco can’t punch its ticket to the postseason just yet, and another couple of slip ups like they had the first three weeks of the year could spell the end for them before they ever get to mid-January.
Here’s a look ahead at the second half of San Francisco’s schedule, and where each of their opponents sits in the NFL hierarchy leading up to Week 10:
USA TODAY power ranking: 15
The Chargers are fascinating. They came into the season with high enough expectations that a 5-3 record feels a little disappointing. Injuries have played a role in their minus-22 point differential, and they’re not going to be any healthier when they face the 49ers. However, quarterback Justin Herbert is good enough to carry them if/when they get the likes of wide receiver Keenan Allen and defensive end Joey Bosa back.
USA TODAY power ranking: 20
The return of WR DeAndre Hopkins should help their offense, but there appears to be a…