NFL Power Rankings 2012, Week 15: Niners stay in top 5

USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers remain among the NFL's elite teams with three games to play.

The San Francisco 49ers are in the top 5 of major Week 15 NFL power rankings following a win over the Miami Dolphins that moves the team's record to 9-3-1. The Niners remain on top of the NFC West, and are in line for a first-round bye.

SB Nation's Joel Thorman keeps San Francisco at No. 5 in his NFL power rankings. Thorman comments on Jim Harbaugh's handling of Brandon Jacobs, who remains on the team but is suspended for the rest of the year:

5. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 5, 9-3-1): Jim Harbaugh does not seem like a guy you want to cross. Brandon Jacobs might be learning that. The 49ers aren't using Jacobs but instead of cutting him -- which would perhaps allow him to become a free agent and re-sign with a certain big blue team -- they just suspended him for the rest of the regular season.

Brian Billick of Fox Sports rose the 49ers two spots to No. 3 this week, moving them past the Texans and Falcons. San Francisco stayed at No. 4 in ESPN's rankings, which are the average of five panelists. NFC West blogger Mike Sando had the Niners at No. 2. Pete Priscoe of CBS put San Francisco at No. 5, one spot up from his last iteration.

The Niners have a chance to face the consensus No. 1 when they travel to Foxboro and take on the New England Patriots in Week 15.

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