(CBS SF/CBS Local) — Two weeks into the NFL season, and, unsurprisingly, multiple teams remain undefeated. The list includes many of the usual suspects — the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs — early in their quests for another playoff run. But the list also includes a few surprise teams, like the San Francisco 49ers.
The Niners opened the season with a 31-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and followed that up with a 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Neither the Buccaneers nor the Bengals were projected as division winners going in, but both teams have enough talent to win any given Sunday. (Andy Dalton hung 311 yards on the 49ers in Week 2 and 418 yards on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1.) They’re the kind of opponents that good teams should beat.
And that’s what the 49ers did, on the road.
San Francisco has some youth sprinkled throughout its lineup, But they’re playing up to potential in the early going. The first win over the Bucs was a little uneven; the defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns, while Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 166 yards and a touchdown, along with a pick-six. Jimmy G looked rusty in the preseason, and the Week 1 win did nothing to change that perception.
The second win inspired more confidence, with Garoppolo tossing three TD passes and Matt Breida picking up 121 yards on the ground. The defense added four sacks to its three from the previous week and limited Joe Mixon to just 17 yards on 11 carries.
Can the 49ers keep it going?
A glance at their upcoming schedule suggests they can. In Week 3, they’ll catch the Pittsburgh Steelers, currently 0-2 and reeling from Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending injury, at the right time. The first half of the season also includes matchups with the Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals. Reaching the halfway mark at 6-2 seems infinitely doable.
Michael Irvin, Inside The NFL analyst and former player, is similarly optimistic, when asked about the NFL’s surprise 2-0 teams. “I would lean toward the Niners. The Bills are going to have to deal with the masters [Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, The Patriots] in their division. And the Niners have a tough division too. Because in the West, you’ve got Seattle and the Rams. But I like what I see in the young Niners right now.”
You can catch Michael Irvin along with Ray Lewis, Phil Simms and host James Brown when Inside The NFL airs tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on Showtime.