Expect surprises this season

The San Francisco 49ers were the latest example of a team that ascended to the top of their conference after missing the playoffs the prior season. If tradition holds, expect another surprise team to win a division crown or two this season.



September 9, 2020 - 10:19 AM

Raheem Mostert (31) of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. Photo by Andy Lyons / Getty Images / TNS

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The idea a year ago that the San Francisco 49ers would win the NFC West following a three-year stretch of winning just 12 games combined seemed far-fetched.

Maybe it shouldn’t have considering how often teams go from also-rans to division champs in the span of a year in the modern NFL.

The Niners surpassed their win total from 2016-18 by winning 13 games in the regular season and going all the way to the Super Bowl, where they lost to Kansas City. 

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