Does Christian McCaffrey commerce shift playoff energy in NFC?
Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers is attention-grabbing, however it stays to be seen if it adjustments the general dynamic of the NFC playoff image.
With the Carolina Panthers utterly tearing it right down to the studs of their rebuild, the San Francisco 49ers have been in a position to purchase their most proficient participant in often-injured operating again Christian McCaffrey.
All it took to acquire the Panthers’ star operating again was San Francisco’s second, third and fourth-round picks within the 2023 NFL Draft, in addition to the 49ers’ fifth-round choose in 2024. That’s A LOT for a 26-year-old operating again who has not performed in 10 regular-season video games since his 2019 All-Professional marketing campaign. The excellent news for McCaffrey is he’s again within the Bay Space close to Stanford.
Whereas McCaffrey’s father Ed performed for Kyle Shanahan’s father Mike in Denver, how certain are we this commerce amplifies the 49ers right into a severe menace to return out of the NFC? They may, however let’s see how this commerce impacts the general hierarchy of the NFC going ahead this season.
Christian McCaffrey commerce: How the transfer can form the NFC playoff image?
By way of the primary six weeks of the season, the 49ers are leading the NFC West, albeit with a 3-3 file. The NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks are additionally 3-3, however two of San Francisco’s three wins on the season have come in opposition to their biannual divisional opponents. Curiously sufficient, their solely different win has come in opposition to McCaffrey’s former NFL employer…
In brief, no one actually is aware of if the NFC West is any good this 12 months. The Arizona Cardinals bought a win on Thursday Night time Soccer to begin Week 7 out on the best foot, however that got here in opposition to a nasty New Orleans Saints group to enhance to a dismal 3-4 on the season. Kliff Kingsbury has lived to struggle one other day. Fact be informed, you simply must win your division to be in good condition within the NFL.
Whereas being up 2-0 in NFC West play is big for the 49ers, these two video games did come at residence. Traditionally, Shanahan has owned Sean McVay head-to-head, so perhaps the 49ers full the regular-season sweep of the Rams? Seattle is perhaps the least proficient group within the division, however needing to beat Pete Carroll’s group on the highway to finish the season sweep is insanely troublesome.
Even when the Cardinals are poorly coached, that may be a proficient roster and one definitely able to beating, and even sweeping, the 49ers. So let’s simply say 6-0 in division isn’t taking place, 5-1 could be splendid, 4-2 is possible, 3-3 might occur and 2-4 is a whole unmitigated catastrophe. Both manner, the 49ers getting two early wins over the Rams and Seahawks bodes nicely for them going ahead.
The issue right here is, once more, the NFC West might not be any good. The 49ers’ three losses have been all on the highway vs. groups they need to be higher than in Chicago, Denver and Atlanta. Dropping to the Falcons was particularly troubling as a result of the 49ers bought pushed round all recreation by Shanahan’s former group. Maybe the dearth of dynamism offensively vs. the Soiled Birds necessitated this commerce?
Both manner, what this commerce does is three-fold within the NFC. First, it makes the 49ers arguably the group to beat within the NFC West, assuming the Seahawks fall again to earth, the Rams don’t discover their footing and that is actually a 12 months from hell for the Cardinals. You commerce for a participant like McCaffrey so as to add to an offense that already has Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel, and look out!
Secondly, this commerce makes the Panthers the favorites to finish up with the worst file within the NFL. Are they destined to go 1-16 now? I imply, they may, as all eyes are on Carolina taking Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud No. 1 total in 2023. The issue with that’s the Panthers have two extra video games in division with Atlanta and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers apiece, who’re each 3-3…
That is important as a result of the NFC South and NFC West play one another of their entireties this season. Atlanta has the head-to-head tiebreaker of San Francisco already. Tampa Bay might get that in the event that they beat the 49ers later this season. The one group within the NFC West that has not performed and crushed the pitiful Panthers up so far is the Seahawks, a group that also has some struggle.
And at last, buying and selling for McCaffrey provides Shanahan one other weapon to make use of offensively. At his core, he’s his father’s son, which means he’ll use the zone blocking scheme to his benefit. McCaffrey is a perfect participant on this system, each as a runner and as a receiver. With him under contract through his age-29 season, McCaffrey ought to be capable of shut out his prime in a 49ers uniform.
What this commerce does is it makes the 49ers a sneaky-good No. 3 or 4 seed ought to they win one of many weaker divisions within the NFC. It might not be adequate to usurp groups just like the Minnesota Vikings or whoever comes out of the NFC East, however they might be a troublesome postseason matchup if they’re certainly underseeded like they have been a 12 months in the past. Quite a bit can change, however title bout is feasible.
If McCaffrey stays wholesome, it might not be stunning if the 49ers return to the NFC Championship.