Week 17 NFL Power Rankings: 49ers, Raiders Both Emerge Victorious

We break down week 8 of the NFL season through the various NFL Power Rankings around the Internet. The 49ers will maintain their ranking or move up in some, while the Raiders will drop after a tough loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation. For more on the Raiders, check out Silver & Black Pride.

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 17: CBS Sports Keeps 49ers At No. 4

The conclusion of another week of NFL football means it is time for more power rankings. CBS Sports released their Week 17 NFL Power Rankings and as with most sites, the top of rankings remained static. Their top five remains the same and only one new team, the New York Giants, joined the top ten.

The San Francisco 49ers remain locked in at the number four position with the Packers, Saints and Patriots ahead of them for now. CBS Sports provides a brief comment about each team with their ranking, and said of the 49ers:

They run it and play good defense. That's a good style for the regular season. Come playoff time, they have to throw it better.

The 49ers are 12-3 and have a chance to lock up the number two seed in the NFC with a win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Getting a chance to host the New Orleans Saints at home in the second round would be infinitely more favorable to hosting a first round game and then traveling to the Superdome in round two. The Saints are downright dominant at home, but if you get them out in the elements, they are a much more beatable team.

The 49ers do need to improve their red zone efficiency, which would entail some manner of improvement in the passing game. However, if they can bring their same strong defensive effort, the amount of necessary improvement might not be what some people think.

Here are the top ten according to the CBS Sports Week 17 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. New England Patriots
4. San Francisco 49ers
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
7. Atlanta Falcons
8. Detroit Lions
9. Houston Texans
10. New York Giants

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Week 17 NFL Power Rankings: ESPN Boosts Oakland Raiders Five Spots

The conclusion of Week 16 of the 2011 NFL season means it is time for the weekly power rankings. ESPN released their Week 17 NFL Power Rankings and the Oakland Raiders joined the Tennessee Titans as the biggest gainers of the week. While the top six remained steady, the Raiders and Titans climbed five spots each to No. 14 and No. 15, respectively.

The Raiders found themselves in a must-win situation this past Saturday. Sitting a game back of the AFC West and AFC wild card picture, Oakland needed a win to stay alive in the race. While they remain on the outside looking in, the Raiders received quite a bit of help in Week 16. The Broncos, Jets, and Chargers all lost, leaving the Raiders that much closer to the playoffs. They are tied with the Broncos who were pounded by Buffalo and they now sit one game back of the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card.

The Week 17 schedule provides plenty of tough matchups for all the potential AFC playoff teams. The Raiders host the San Diego Chargers, the Broncos host the Kansas City Chiefs and the Bengals host the Baltimore Ravens.

ere is the top ten according to the ESPN Week 17 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. San Francisco 49ers
4. New England Patriots
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
7. Detroit Lions
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Houston Texans
10. Cincinnati Bengals

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 17: 49ers, Raiders Get Huge Wins

The NFL wrapped up its penultimate regular season and we are looking at a wild finish in Week 17. While the Green Bay Packers wrapped up the number one seed in the NFC, the New England Patriots wrapped up a first round bye, and the New Orleans Saints clinched the NFC South, the rest of the action simply set up a great finish on New Years Day.

The San Francisco 49ers head into Week 17 with a simple formula. Beat the St. Louis Rams and the 49ers earn the number two seed. If the Saints lose to the Carolina Panthers the 49ers would also secure the number two seed, but both teams play at 10:00am PT, so the 49ers will not have the benefit of getting to see what happens in the Saints game.

The Oakland Raiders find themselves in a wild situation. They snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 8-7 and thanks to the Broncos and Jets losing, they are in the thick of the AFC West and wild card races. For the Raiders to earn a playoff berth, they need to win and then have either the Denver Broncos or Cincinnati Bengals lose. The Raiders are tied with Denver, but the Broncos hold the tiebreaker. On the other hand, the Raiders hold tiebreakers over the Bengals, Titans and Jets.

The power rankings show an intriguing battle at the other end of the spectrum as well. The Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams are tied at 2-13. The Colts hold the tiebreaker edge but they also have the slightly easier matchup, heading on the road to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Rams will be hosting the 49ers with an opportunity to trip up San Francisco in their battle for the number two seed. The draft implications are intriguing.

On to the Week 17 NFL Power Rankings (previous week in parenthesis). As always, feel free to tweet your disagreements to @sbnbayarea:

1. (1) Green Bay Packers (14-1)
2. (2) New Orleans Saints (12-3)
3. (3) San Francisco 49ers (12-3)
4. (4) New England Patriots (12-3)
5. (5) Baltimore Ravens (11-4)
6. (6) Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4)
7. (15) Detroit Lions (10-5)
8. (13) Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
9. (8) Houston Texans (10-5)
10. (7) Atlanta Falcons (9-6)
11. (9) Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
12. (12) New York Giants (8-7)
13. (10) Denver Broncos (8-7)
14. (16) Oakland Raiders (8-7)
15. (11) New York Jets (8-7)
16. (17) Philadelphia Eagles (7-8)
17. (18) Tennessee Titans (8-7)
18. (14) San Diego Chargers (7-8)
19. (19) Seattle Seahawks (7-8)
20. (23) Carolina Panthers (6-9)
21. (20) Arizona Cardinals (7-8)
22. (21) Chicago Bears (7-8)
23. (22) Miami Dolphins (5-10)
24. (27) Buffalo Bills (6-9)
25. (24) Washington Redskins (5-10)
26. (25) Kansas City Chiefs (6-9)
27. (30) Minnesota Vikings (3-12)
28. (26) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11)
29. (28) Cleveland Browns (4-11)
30. (29) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)
31. (32) Indianapolis Colts (2-13)
32. (31) St. Louis Rams (2-13)

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 16: 49ers And Raiders Headed Opposite Directions

The Bay Area is a place for good times and a place for bad times.

Let's start with the good.

The San Francisco 49ers put on a defensive clinic on Monday night with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers that reminded everyone of just how good this team is. They controlled the game from start to finish and once again did not allow a rushing touchdown - or any touchdown for that matter. This is a team built for the playoffs and smacking one of the AFC's top teams is a good way to start the last stretch of the season.

The bad.

The Oakland Raiders swoon continued as they allowed the Detroit Lions to put together a furious late comeback that could be the end of the Raiders season. Just a few weeks ago, it was looking like the AFC West was theirs for the taking, but now the Raiders are looking up at the Denver Broncos, hoping they'll help them out a bit with a loss or two.

Let's see how the Power Rankings saw it.

Sportsline (no. 4) and ESPN (no. 3) both kept the 49ers in their same spot as last week. Only SBNation (moved up four spots to no. 2) showed any movement. Both Sportsline and SBNation were impressed with the Monday night showing and ESPN pointed out just how dominant the rush defense has been during their 15-game streak without allowing a rushing TD.

The Raiders fell one spot (Sportsline, no. 15), three spots (ESPN, no. 19) and one spot (SBNation, no. 17) as their three-game losing streak has everyone questioning the Carson Palmer trade, their playoff hopes and the damage the late-game collapse against the Lions will cause.

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 16: 49ers Climb With Win Over Steelers

The NFL completed Week 15 and it was a topsy-turvy sort of week. We saw the Indianapolis Colts grab the first win, upsetting the Tennessee Titans, and we saw the the Green Bay Packers get shocked by the Kansas City Chiefs for the defending champions first loss of the season.

The San Francisco 49ers put together a huge win on Monday Night Football as they knocked off the briefly AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers. The 49ers won 20-3 as they were able to put a hurting on a struggling Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben spent the entire game hobbling around on a busted ankle and it cost him and his Steelers in a key game for both teams. The 49ers climb back up to third in the power rankings behind the Packers and Saints.

The Oakland Raiders blew a huge opportunity on Sunday as they lost after taking a 13-point lead into the final seven minutes against the Detroit Lions. The Raiders remain a game back in the wild card and divisional race, but might have cost themselves a shot at the postseason with the loss.

On to the Week 16 NFL Power Rankings (previous week in parenthesis). As always, feel free to tweet your disagreements to @sbnbayarea:

1. (1) Green Bay Packers (13-1)
2. (2) New Orleans Saints (11-3)
3. (6) San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
4. (5) New England Patriots (11-3)
5. (3) Baltimore Ravens (10-4)
6. (4) Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4)
7. (8) Atlanta Falcons (9-5)
8. (7) Houston Texans (10-4)
9. (12) Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
10. (9) Denver Broncos (8-6)
11. (10) New York Jets (8-6)
12. (11) New York Giants (7-7)
13. (17) Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)
14. (15) San Diego Chargers (7-7)
15. (16) Detroit Lions (9-5)
16. (14) Oakland Raiders (7-7)
17. (18) Philadelphia Eagles (6-8)
18. (13) Tennessee Titans (7-7)
19. (22) Seattle Seahawks (7-7)
20. (21) Arizona Cardinals (7-7)
21. (19) Chicago Bears (7-7)
22. (20) Miami Dolphins (5-9)
23. (24) Carolina Panthers (5-9)
24. (28) Washington Redskins (5-9)
25. (30) Kansas City Chiefs (6-8)
26. (23) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10)
27. (25) Buffalo Bills (5-9)
28. (26) Cleveland Browns (4-10)
29. (27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10)
30. (29) Minnesota Vikings (2-12)
31. (31) St. Louis Rams (2-12)
32. (32) Indianapolis Colts (1-13)

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: CBS Sports Has Broncos Climbing In AFC West

The close of week 14 means it is once again time for NFL Power Rankings. It was another up and down week in the NFL as the Denver Broncos took a firm one-game lead in the AFC West. Their comeback win over the Bears, coupled with the Raiders blowout loss to the Green Bay Packers leaves the Broncos in control moving forward.

CBS Sports released their Week 15 NFL Power Rankings and the Broncos have climbed up to ninth in the rankings. They have won six straight under Tim Tebow and while the defense and Willis McGahee have been integral to that, there is just something about Tebow. It has become fascinating to see them come back week in and week out. It will be an interesting test when they host the New England Patriots this weekend given how prolific a scoring team the Patriots have been.

The Oakland Raiders dropped from No. 12 to No. 14 following their tough loss to the Packers. The Raiders are dealing with numerous injuries and are still wondering when they will get many of their players back. They face the Detroit Lions on Sunday and are in must-win territory at this point. They trail Denver by a game in the division and the Jets by a game in the wildcard. With only three games remaining, they need to get it in gear.

Here are the top ten according to CBS Sports Week 15 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Houston Texans
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. New Orleans Saints
6. New England Patriots
7. San Francisco 49ers
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Denver Broncos
10. New York Jets

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Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: ESPN Drops 49ers, Raiders

Week 14 of the 2011 NFL season wrapped up and once again the Green Bay Packers remain undefeated. While they are the clear-cut number one team in the NFL, there is a logjam of teams sitting right behind them with 10-3 records. With no teams sitting at 9-4, it creates a very clear second tier of teams.

The San Francisco 49ers are among those 10-3 teams and at this point you could probably rotate most of them around and make a convincing argument for that ranking. The only exception is that Pittsburgh has to remain behind Baltimore given the Ravens series sweep. Some would say the Steelers have to be ahead of the Patriots as well given the single win, but I am less inclined to require that. The 49ers and Steelers square off on Monday Night Football so we will have some cleaning up at that point.

The Oakland Raiders were dropped one spot from No. 14 to No. 15 following their blowout loss at the hands of the undefeated Green Bay Packers. The Raiders have been extremely shorthanded on offense so the loss was not entirely unexpected. Nonetheless, it was not a pretty one as the Raiders defense struggled mightily for the second straight game. They host the Detroit Lions this Sunday in a huge game.

Here are the top ten according to ESPN's Week 15 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. New England Patriots
6. San Francisco 49ers
7. Houston Texans
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Denver Broncos
10. New York Jets

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: 49ers, Raiders Both Struggle To A Certain Extent

Week 14 of the 2011 NFL season has come to a close and it was not a pretty week for Bay Area football. The 49ers left their red zone offense in San Francisco as they dropped a 21-19 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals. The loss dropped them into a tie with the New Orleans Saints for the number two seed and the accompanying first round bye. The Saints have proven to be a fantastic team at home, but they become a bit more questionable when they head on the road. The 49ers would like to have a first round bye, but just as important is if they play the Saints in round two, it would be nice to have the game in San Francisco.

The Oakland Raiders were pummeled by the undefeated Green Bay Packers in a loss that dropped them out of first place. They now sit a game back of the Denver Broncos who are intent on never actually losing again. The Broncos have won six straight and seven of eight since Tim Tebow took over as quarterback. He may lose again, but given how crazy things have gone the last two months, the Raiders could find themselves simply hoping for a wild card berth.

On to the Week 15 NFL Power Rankings (previous week in parenthesis). As always, feel free to tweet your disagreements to @sbnbayarea:

1. (1) Green Bay Packers (13-0)
2. (2) New Orleans Saints (10-3)
3. (3) Baltimore Ravens (10-3)
4. (4) Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3)
5. (6) New England Patriots (10-3)
6. (5) San Francisco 49ers (10-3)
7. (7) Houston Texans (10-3)
8. (8) Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
9. (9) Denver Broncos (8-5)
10. (14) New York Jets (8-5)
11. (15) New York Giants (7-6)
12. (10) Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
13. (11) Tennessee Titans (7-6)
14. (12) Oakland Raiders (7-6)
15. (18) San Diego Chargers (6-7)
16. (17) Detroit Lions (8-5)
17. (16) Cincinnati Bengals (7-6)
18. (20) Philadelphia Eagles (5-8)
19. (13) Chicago Bears (7-6)
20. (19) Miami Dolphins (4-9)
21. (23) Arizona Cardinals (6-7)
22. (25) Seattle Seahawks (6-7)
23. (27) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)
24. (22) Carolina Panthers (4-9)
25. (21) Buffalo Bills (5-8)
26. (24) Cleveland Browns (4-9)
27. (26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
28. (29) Washington Redskins (4-9)
29. (30) Minnesota Vikings (2-11)
30. (28) Kansas City Chiefs (5-8)
31. (31) St. Louis Rams (2-11)
32. (32) Indianapolis Colts (0-13)

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Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: ESPN Drops Oakland Raiders After Tough Loss

Week 13 of the 2011 NFL season is complete and the AFC West has gotten incredibly tight. ESPN's Week 14 NFL Power Rankings reflect this to some extent, although they seem to reflect a more and more common belief that Denver's huge run could be further sustainable as the season wears on. While the top and bottom of their power rankings remain largely untouched, losses in the middle have created all sorts of movement.

The Oakland Raiders were pounded by the Miami Dolphins on Sunday and now find themselves tied for first with the Denver Broncos. It does not get any easier for the Raiders as they travel to Green Bay to face the undefeated Packers. With the Broncos hosting a weakened Chicago Bears team, Denver very well could find themselves in first place by the end of the weekend.

Amidst all this, the Chargers and Chiefs continue to hang around. With their wins in Week 13, both teams are now only two games back. There are only four games left in the regular season, but I do not think anybody would put anything past anybody in this division the rest of the way.

Here are the top ten according to ESPN's Week 14 NFL Power Rankings

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. San Francisco 49ers
4. New Orleans Saints
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. New England Patriots
7. Houston Texans
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Dallas Cowboys
10. Denver Broncos

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Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: CBS Sports Sees Little Change For 49ers, Raiders

CBS Sports released their Week 14 NFL Power Rankings and there was not much change at the top or bottom of the rankings. The top nine remained the same as last week, while the bottom four remain locked in as well. With the Packers looking at 16-0 and the Colts looking at 0-16, the dichotomy makes a certain amount of sense.

The San Francisco 49ers remain locked in at three following their victory over the St. Louis Rams. They remain behind Green Bay and Baltimore and even with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in two weeks, they could remain third heading into the playoffs given the Packers and Ravens remaining schedules.

The Oakland Raiders were blown out by Miami but only dropped a couple, which reflected a bit of a pattern this week. Many of the teams that lost did not lose a lot of ground in part because of how teams around them lost. For the Raiders, the big change saw the Broncos leapfrog ahead of them from No. 15 to No. 10. The Broncos are on a crazy roll having won five straight. The Raiders head to Green Bay this weekend, while the Broncos host a struggling Chicago, which means the Broncos could take sole possession of first by next week.

Here are the top ten according to CBS Sports Week 14 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay
2. Baltimore
3. San Francisco
4. Houston
5. Pittsburgh
6. New Orleans
7. New England
8. Atlanta
9. Dallas
10. Denver

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 14: 49ers Inch Up With Clinching, Raiders Struggling

Week 13 of the 2011 NFL season has come to a close, which means it is once again time for weekly power rankings. The week 14 power rankings do not feature a ton of change at the top or bottom, but much of the middle is churning around. The Broncos, Titans, and Cardinals all pulled off some solid victories to get some juice in the rankings.

I moved the 49ers up a notch from No. 6 to No. 5 and dropped the Patriots from No. 3 to No. 6. In reality, spots two through six are virtually interchangeable at this point. Well, almost all of them. Baltimore's sweep of Pittsburgh keeps them ahead of the Steelers barring a four game losing streak to end the season. Baltimore beat San Francisco and Pittsburgh beat New England, but if you match them up on a neutral field, both teams could easily win those games.

I dropped the Raiders from No. 10 to No. 12, and could have been justified dropping them further. They didn't fall further in part because of the host of losses around them. The Raiders have managed to keep winning in spite of their injury issues, but they finally ran out of gas in Miami against the Dolphins. The road only gets more difficult as they have to travel north to Green Bay to face the undefeated Packers. With the Broncos evening things up in the division and hosting a weakened Chicago in Week 14, the Broncos could be in sole possession of first place a week from today.

On to the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings (previous week in parenthesis). As always, feel free to tweet your disagreements to @sbnbayarea:

1. (1) Green Bay Packers (12-0)
2. (2) New Orleans Saints (9-3)
3. (4) Baltimore Ravens (9-3)
4. (5) Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)
5. (6) San Francisco 49ers (10-2)
6. (3) New England Patriots (9-3)
7. (8) Houston Texans (9-3)
8. (7) Atlanta Falcons (7-5)
9. (13) Denver Broncos (7-5)
10. (9) Dallas Cowboys (7-5)
11. (16) Tennessee Titans (7-5)
12. (10) Oakland Raiders (7-5)
13. (11) Chicago Bears (7-5)
14. (17) New York Jets (7-5)
15. (15) New York Giants (6-6)
16. (12) Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
17. (14) Detroit Lions (7-5)
18. (20) San Diego Chargers (5-7)
19. (21) Miami Dolphins (4-8)
20. (18) Philadelphia Eagles (4-8)
21. (19) Buffalo Bills (5-7)
22. (25) Carolina Panthers (4-8)
23. (28) Arizona Cardinals (5-7)
24. (22) Cleveland Browns (4-8)
25. (27) Seattle Seahawks (5-7)
26. (23) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8)
27. (24) Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9)
28. (29) Kansas City Chiefs (5-7)
29. (26) Washington Redskins (4-8)
30. (30) Minnesota Vikings (2-10)
31. (31) St. Louis Rams (2-10)
32. (32) Indianapolis Colts (0-12)

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 13: Oakland Raiders Move Into Stretch Run

As the NFL moves past week 12, NFL power rankings have been rolling out to give us an idea of how the league stacks up in the eyes of the media. SB Nation released their Week 13 NFL Power Rankings and have ranked the Oakland Raiders No. 13. They are coming off a win over the Chicago Bears that allowed them to maintain their one-game lead over the Denver Broncos.

The AFC West has split into two halves at this point. The Raiders are ranked 13th and the Broncos are ranked 15th while the Chargers are ranked 23rd and the Chiefs are ranked 25th. San Diego and Kansas City are both still alive in the playoff race, but three back with five to go does not exactly inspire a lot of confidence.

This would appear to be a two-horse race for now. The Broncos continue to come up with improbable wins behind Tim Tebow, Willis McGahee and their improving defense. They face some tough games the rest of the way, but how pessimistic could anybody really be given what the Broncos have done in recent weeks?

The Raiders find themselves dealing with numerous injuries, but they seem to be coming together behind Carson Palmer and Michael Bush. They have had some very ugly wins, but wins are wins when you are in a divisional dogfight. They travel to Miami to face the Dolphins in Week 13.

Here is the top ten according to SB Nation's Week 13 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. San Francisco 49ers
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. New England Patriots
7. Houston Texans
8. Dallas Cowboys
9. Chicago Bears
10. Detroit Lions

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Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: ESPN Joins Consensus On 49ers, Raiders

Week 12 of the 2011 NFL season wrapped up and our knowledge of the league remains on fairly steady ground. The Green Bay Packers are really good, the New Orleans Saints are really good at home, the Indianapolis Colts are not good, the Raiders are winning ugly and the 49ers proved how difficult it is to go on the road for Thanksgiving.

ESPN released their week 13 NFL Power Rankings, and like CBS Sports power rankings, the World Wide Leader has the 49ers third and the Raiders tenth. I'd imagine the specific numbers are a bit of a coincidence, but generally speaking, the rankings make sense for both teams. The Raiders have been winning ugly the last couple weeks, but a win is a win is a win. Given that the Broncos are breathing down their neck in the AFC West, every win is huge for Oakland.

The 49ers dropped a tough one to Baltimore but were not dropped particularly far given the degree of difficulty in the game. They have a chance to clinch the NFC West this weekend with a win over the St. Louis Rams. Just as important is the fact that they remain in position to secure a first round round bye in the coming weeks. They hold a one game edge over the New Orleans Saints, but also currently lead the conference record tiebreaker (7-1 to 5-3). If they can sweep their remaining divisional games, they would lock up the bye.

Here are the top ten according to ESPN's Week 13 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. San Francisco 49ers
4. New Orleans Saints
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. New England Patriots
7. Houston Texans
8. Dallas Cowboys
9. Atlanta Falcons
10. Oakland Raiders

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 13: CBS Sports Moves Up Raiders, Drops 49ers Slightly

The close of week twelve of the 2011 NFL season means it is once again time for NFL power rankings. There is no doubt that the Green Bay Packers will remain at the top, as they improved to 11-0 for the first time in franchise history. CBS Sports released their Week 13 NFL Power Rankings and acted accordingly. The real intrigue lies after Green Bay as their is a second tier of teams that includes the Ravens, Saints, Steelers, Patriots, 49ers and possibly the Houston Texans.

CBS Sports dropped the 49ers one spot from second to third in the wake of their 16-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Often a loss drops a team several spots, but this is a lot like a highly ranked college team losing to another highly ranked team in a close game on the road. They get some strength of schedule points that keep them from falling too far. The 49ers were playing a fellow quality opponent and were doing so on the road and on a short week. Although the Ravens defense battered the 49ers pass protection, it was still a fairly close game throughout.

The Oakland Raiders climbed three spots in the rankings, jumping from No. 13 to No. 10. The Raiders improved to 7-4 and retained their lead in the AFC West with a win over the Chicago Bears. It was not pretty at times, but the Raiders are getting the Ws and that is all that matters. Oakland has Denver breathing down their necks so every win is absolutely essential. They travel to Miami this weekend looking to maintain that lead.

Here are the top ten according to CBS Sports' Week 13 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. San Francisco 49ers
4. Houston Texans
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. New Orleans Saints
7. New England Patriots
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Dallas Cowboys
10. Oakland Raiders

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Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Raiders Rise, 49ers Fall

Week 12 of the 2011 NFL season has come to a close and once again, the Green Bay Packers reign supreme as they improved to 11-0 for the first time in franchise history. The Packers have to travel to the Meadowlands to face the Giants this coming weekend, host the Raiders in two weeks and host Chicago and Detroit to close out the season, so a 16-0 regular season is no sure thing. But they are looking really good for it right now.

The Oakland Raiders are making their way back up the power rankings following their third straight win. The Raiders pulled out a home win over the Chicago Bears to improve to 7-4 and maintain their one-game lead over the Denver Broncos. The victory moved them up to No. 10 in my rankings. The AFC West is turning into a two-horse race as we approach the final quarter of the season. The Raiders travel to Miami in Week 13, while the Broncos travel to Minnesota.

The San Francisco 49ers dropped from No. 2 to No. 6 following their loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving. You could argue that given the short week, the 49ers probably shouldn't fall that far. In reality, you could throw the 49ers, Ravens, Steelers, Patriots and Saints into a hat and pull names randomly. Green Bay is number one and those teams are in that second tier. The 49ers host the Rams in Week 13 with a chance to clinch the NFC West. They face divisional opponents in four of their final five games, with the one non-division opponent being the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On to the Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (previous week in parenthesis). As always, feel free to tweet your disagreements to @sbnbayarea:

1. (1) Green Bay Packers (11-0)
2. (3) New Orleans Saints (8-3)
3. (5) New England Patriots (8-3)
4. (7) Baltimore Ravens (8-3)
5. (4) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)
6. (2) San Francisco 49ers (9-2)
7. (8) Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
8. (11) Houston Texans (8-3)
9. (12) Dallas Cowboys (7-4)
10. (14) Oakland Raiders (7-4)
11. (6) Chicago Bears (7-4)
12. (13) Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
13. (15) Denver Broncos (6-5)
14. (9) Detroit Lions (7-4)
15. (10) New York Giants (6-5)
16. (17) Tennessee Titans (6-5)
17. (20) New York Jets (6-5)
18. (16) Philadelphia Eagles (4-7)
19. (18) Buffalo Bills (5-6)
20. (19) San Diego Chargers (4-7)
21. (24) Miami Dolphins (3-8)
22. (21) Cleveland Browns (4-7)
23. (22) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
24. (23) Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8)
25. (28) Carolina Panthers (3-8)
26. (30) Washington Redskins (4-7)
27. (25) Seattle Seahawks (4-7)
28. (29) Arizona Cardinals (4-7)
29. (26) Kansas City Chiefs (4-7)
30. (27) Minnesota Vikings (2-9)
31. (31) St. Louis Rams (2-9)
32. (32) Indianapolis Colts (0-11)

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 12: 49ers, Raiders Hanging Steady

The folks at Football Outsiders put together their weekly team efficiency ratings to break down the NFL through eleven weeks of the 2011 season. While most power rankings are entirely subjective, Football Outsiders attempts to come up with an objective rating system for the league. They use Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), which breaks down every play from the season and compares a team's performance to a league baseline based on situation in order to determine value over average.

As things currently sit, the Houston Texans are sitting at number one coming out of their bye week. DVOA does not factor in future performances based on injuries, so Matt Schaub's injury has not been factored in. Week 12 will see the return of Matt Leinart, so we'll see how it impacts them in the coming weeks.

The 49ers climbed from No. 5 to No. 4 as they continue to hover in the same area week in and week out. They rank second in special teams and third in defense, but their 19th ranked offense is what brings them down a notch. This week they face the Baltimore Ravens who are rated No. 9 in DVOA. The Ravens have the number one ranked defense, which helps make up for their No. 20 offensive unit and No. 29 special teams unit.

The Oakland Raiders hung steady at No. 18. They defeated the Minnesota Vikings but it was an up and down affair. They never really lost control of the game, but they let the Vikings hang around a bit. The Raiders host the No. 6 ranked Chicago Bears this weekend. The Bears have the number one special teams unit, sixth-ranked defense and 22nd-ranked offense. They have lost Jay Cutler indefinitely so it will be interesting to see how it impacts their offense.

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 12: Are 49ers Ready To Deal With Resurgent Seattle Seahawks?

The San Francisco 49ers have taken firm control of the NFC West, but that doesn't mean the rest of the division is prepared to completely fall apart. After ugly struggles through the first half of the season, the Seattle Seahawks have shown signs of life in recent weeks and are now sitting at 4-6. They have a long way to go to get back into the wild card race (they are three games back of Detroit and Chicago), but given how they were performing early on, they are putting themselves into good shape for the stretch run.

SB Nation released their Week 12 NFL Power Rankings and as the 49ers continue sitting at No. 2, the Seattle Seahawks have climbed up to No. 23. Considering as recently as two weeks ago the NFC West had three teams in the bottom five, this is a big step forward.

The 49ers are closing in on the NFC West title and currently find themselves battling for a shot at a first round bye. The Seahawks have a shot at getting back in the wild card race thanks to a favorable schedule over the next month. Riding a two-game winning streak, the Seahawks' next three games are all at home against Washington, Philadelphia and St. Louis. Those are not easy games, but Seattle's home field advantage is rather impressive. If they can maintain the consistency needed to win three straight, a 7-6 record gets them right back in the thick of things.

Here are the top ten in the NFL according to SB Nation's Week 12 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. Houston Texans
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
7. New England Patriots
8. Chicago Bears
9. Detroit Lions
10. Dallas Cowboys

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CBS Sports NFL Power Rankings, Week 12: Are Oakland Raiders In AFC West Driver's Seat?

The conclusion of week 11 means it is time for NFL power rankings. CBS Sports revealed their Week 12 NFL Power Rankings and they bumped the Oakland Raiders up one spot from No. 14 to No. 13. Their biggest climber was the Raiders main competition at this point in the West, the Denver Broncos. The Broncos climbed from No. 25 to No. 19 on the heels of their stunning victory over the New York Jets.

The AFC West has been all over the place in recent weeks, with three teams tied for second last week. There has been some clarity in the division with the Chargers and Chiefs dropping two games back. The Raiders now lead the Broncos by one game with six games remaining.

Week 12 brings an intriguing slate of games for the AFC West. The Raiders host the Chicago Bears, in what will be a stiff challenge for the Raiders offense. At the same time, the Bears will be without QB Jay Cutler, which eases the defensive challenge a bit. Matt Forte is still a load, but the Raiders are in a better position with Cutler sidelined.

The Denver Broncos travel to Southern California to face the San Diego Chargers in a game with huge divisional implications. If the Raiders win, a Broncos win sends the Chargers plummeting to three games out. If the Raiders win and the Broncos lose, the Raiders will hold a two-game lead on at least two teams in the division. Of course, the Raiders have to win to make this all the more significant. With the Chiefs hosting the Steelers, the Raiders could really be in the driver's seat by the end of this weekend.

Here is the top ten in the NFL according to CBS Sports Week 12 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Houston Texans
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. New Orleans Saints
7. New England Patriots
8. Chicago Bears
9. Detroit Lions
10. Atlanta Falcons

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 12: ESPN Has Raiders Creeping, 49ers Holding Steady

The NFL wrapped up week 11 Monday Night, which means it is time for the release of power rankings. ESPN released their Week 12 NFL Power Rankings and the top remained pretty much the same. Aside from Dallas climbing into the top ten, there was not a ton of movement at the top. The top four remains the same as last week and top 15 changes are no more than a spot or two. The Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins were the biggest gainers (four spots), while the Arizona Cardinals were biggest losers (four spots).

The Oakland Raiders continued their recent winning ways with a road win over the Minnesota Vikings that moved them up two spots from No. 16 to No. 14. They host the No. 7 Chicago Bears this week in a game that originally was a huge challenge. It is still a difficult task facing the Bears defense, but the Bears loss of Jay Cutler changes things entirely. It is no gimme game, but suddenly becomes a lot more winnable against Caleb Hanie. With the Denver Broncos heading south to face the San Diego Chargers, the Raiders have an opportunity to put some space between them.

The San Francisco 49ers retained their number two spot with their win over the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers remain in lock step behind the Green Bay Packers in the rankings. What would be interesting is how voters would handle a Packers loss to the Lions on Thanksgiving, particularly if the 49ers upset the Ravens on the road. It is a road game in a tough holiday environment, but at the same time, the Packers have been so dominant that one loss at Detroit might not be enough to drop them out of number one.

Here are the top ten according to ESPN's Week 12 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. New England Patriots
7. Chicago Bears
8. Houston Texans
9. Dallas Cowboys
10. Detroit Lions

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 12: 49ers, Raiders Hold Steady Following Wins

Week 11 of the 2011 NFL season has come to a close and the top of the power rankings are tightening up. My top seven did not change as byes and victories make it difficult to really split anybody up at this point. We'll get a chance for some change this weekend as a host of top ten teams square off. The 49ers face the Ravens and the Packers face the Lions on Thanksgiving, which could provide all sorts of early turmoil depending on the results.

The San Francisco 49ers ran their record to 9-1 with a 23-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. They remain locked in behind the undefeated Green Bay Packers and these two seem set on a collision course in the NFC Championship game. Of course, much like the SEC is dominating the BCS rankings, the NFC is dominating the power rankings with the Saints coming in right behind the Packers and 49ers. With the Bears at sixth we are looking at an incredibly top-heavy NFC.

The Oakland Raiders improved to 6-4 with a 27-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The Raiders hold a one-game lead over the Denver Broncos and a two-game lead over the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders are dealing with Darren McFadden, Jacoby Ford and Darrius Heyward-Bey all injured, but the Bears just lost Jay Cutler indefinitely, which opens the door for Oakland to take care of business this weekend. The Broncos are traveling to face the Chargers in a must-win for both teams.

On to the Week 12 NFL Power Rankings (previous week in parenthesis). As always, feel free to tweet your disagreements to @sbnbayarea:

1. (1) Green Bay Packers (10-0)
2. (2) San Francisco 49ers (9-1)
3. (3) New Orleans Saints (7-3)
4. (4) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)
5. (5) New England Patriots (7-3)
6. (6) Chicago Bears (7-3)
7. (7) Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
8. (9) Atlanta Falcons (6-4)
9. (12) Detroit Lions (7-3)
10. (8) New York Giants (6-4)
11. (10) Houston Texans (7-3)
12. (13) Dallas Cowboys (6-4)
13. (11) Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
14. (14) Oakland Raiders (6-4)
15. (19) Denver Broncos (5-5)
16. (20) Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)
17. (15) Tennessee Titans (5-5)
18. (16) Buffalo Bills (5-5)
19. (17) San Diego Chargers (4-6)
20. (18) New York Jets (5-5)
21. (24) Cleveland Browns (4-6)
22. (21) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)
23. (22) Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)
24. (28) Miami Dolphins (3-7)
25. (27) Seattle Seahawks (4-6)
26. (23) Kansas City Chiefs (4-6)
27. (25) Minnesota Vikings (2-8)
28. (30) Carolina Panthers (2-8)
29. (26) Arizona Cardinals (3-7)
30. (31) Washington Redskins (3-7)
31. (29) St. Louis Rams (2-8)
32. (32) Indianapolis Colts (0-10)

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 11: 49ers Hanging Tight, Raiders Looking For Separation

The close of week ten of the 2011 NFL season means we can wrap it up with a look at various NFL power rankings from around the media. We'll wrap up that breakdown with a look at some more objective rankings from Football Outsiders. While most media power rankings are entirely subjective, FO's DVOA ratings try to put together a more objective look around the league.

In their more analytical approach, issues do pop up that aren't always an issue with subjective rankings. In FO's current DVOA ratings, they have Houston number one following their big win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. DVOA does not consider the future impact of injuries, which means Matt Schaub's foot injury does not impact the Texans DVOA yet. If they start to lose some games, then we will see adjustments.

The San Francisco 49ers dropped a spot in DVOA this week from No. 4 to No. 5, although that was more because of performances around them as opposed to any problems with their own performance. The 49ers enter the softer portion of their schedule with five of their remaining seven games against struggling NFC West opponents. However, the two non-division opponents are the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. Not exactly pushovers.

The Oakland Raiders climbed from No. 21 to No. 18 following their road win over the San Diego Chargers. They are three spots up on the Chargers, four on the Broncos and twelve spots ahead of the Chiefs. The AFC West is in a bit of turmoil with three teams tied for second place behind the Raiders. They are all playing out of division games in the coming week.

Here is the top ten according to Football Outsiders' DVOA Ratings:

1. Houston Texans
2. Green Bay Packers
3. New York Jets
4. New England Patriots
5. San Francisco 49ers
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
8. New York Giants
9. Chicago Bears
10. Dallas Cowboys

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 11: NFC West Takes Modest Step Up

Week ten of the 2011 NFL season brought a result that had never happened in NFL history. The four teams of the NFC West all won on the same weekend for the first time since the NFL realigned to its current eight division format. The NFC West has had some strong teams since then, but there has generally been at least one or two teams that have been fairly awful. That all peaked (or valleyed) last year with the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks doing just enough to claim the division title.

SB Nation NFL released their week 11 NFL Power Rankings and the NFC West saw some solid movement by the three struggling teams. The 49ers remain locked in at number two in the power rankings behind the Green Bay Packers, but the rest of the division was able to move up. The Seahawks and Cardinals pulled sizable upsets over the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, while the St. Louis Rams got a solid road win over the Cleveland Browns. Add in the 49ers win over the New York Giants and it was a banner weekend for the NFC West.

Week 11 will not allow for such success as it is all divisional games this week for the NFC West. The 49ers host the Cardinals and the Rams host the Seahawks. The only chance for significant change in the power rankings would be if the Cardinals upset the 49ers. Otherwise, we probably won't see a lot of change next week.

Here are the top ten according to SB Nation NFL's Week 11 Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Houston Texans
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
7. New England Patriots
8. Chicago Bears
9. Cincinnati Bengals
10. New York Giants

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 11: CBS Sports Shows Oakland Raiders Taking 'Control' Of AFC West

The end of week ten of the NFL season means it is time for NFL power rankings to help us sort out the season to date. CBS released their week 11 NFL Power Rankings and the top two remained the same as the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers just keep on winning. If these two could run the table the rest of the regular season (a tall order) and faced off in the NFC championship game, that would be a fairly epic showdown.

CBS Sports bumped the Raiders from No. 18 to No. 14 as they went on the road and beat the San Diego Chargers. The AFC West is the tightest divisional race in the NFL at this point and divisional road wins are huge. The Raiders currently hold a one-game lead over the rest of the division. They lost a home game to the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Chiefs may have lost Matt Cassel for the rest of the 2011 NFL season. The Chiefs have been ravaged by injuries, so we will see if they can bounce back from this.

Heading into week 11, the division features some tough matchups. The Broncos host the New York Jets, the Chiefs travel to face the New England Patriots, the Chargers travel to face the Chicago Bears, and the Raiders travel to face the Minnesota Vikings. This could come down to the remaining divisional games, but every out of division win is huge for the eventual division winner.

Here is the top ten according to CBS Sports' Week 11 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Houston Texans
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. New Orleans Saints
7. New England Patriots
8. New York Giants
9. Chicago Bears
10. Detroit Lions

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 11: ESPN Keeps Packers, 49ers At 1-2

ESPN released their week 11 NFL Power Rankings and there really was nothing particularly shocking about them. The Green Bay Packers dominated the Minnesota Vikings to retain their firm grip on the number one position. The Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders were the biggest movers, as they each climbed four positions. The Philadelphia Eagles had the biggest drop as they fell six positions.

The 49ers continue to sit at number two and really are looking like they won't be climbing up much anytime soon. The Packers could very well go undefeated. The 49ers have some tough games remaining that could cause a drop, but as long as the Packers keep winning the 49ers won't climb any higher. They host the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday and will simply look to maintain their current run.

The Raiders were big gainers following a huge road win over the San Diego Chargers as they climbed from No. 21 to No. 16. The Raiders were sizable underdogs, but they went into San Diego and claimed a big divisional win to take over first place in the AFC West. The Raiders travel to Minnesota and given how tight the AFC West is shaping up, it is a must-win for the Raiders.

Here is a breakdown of the top ten in ESPN's Week 11 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Chicago Bears
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. New York Giants
8. New England Patriots
9. Houston Texans
10. Detroit Lions

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 11: 49ers Locked In Behind Packers, Raiders Climbing

Week ten of the 2011 NFL Season is complete, which means it's time for week 11 NFL Power Rankings. The Green Bay Packers continued their undefeated run as they improved to 9-0. Although they sometimes have questionable defense, the league really has become the Green Bay Packers....and everybody else.

While it is "everybody else", the San Francisco 49ers are one of the team that have established themselves on a tier immediately after the Packers. The 49ers defeated the New York Giants on Sunday to further solidify their spot at number two. They have five divisional games and two huge battles with the AFC North looming. They can't move past Green Bay without the Packers losing at least once, and maybe twice, but they can maintain their current position if they continue playing like we saw against the Giants.

The 49ers tier likely includes the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Chicago Bears to some extent. New England and Baltimore are in the mix but have lost ugly enough that they remain questions marks. All these teams could knock off Green Bay, but they would need to bring quality football to make it happen.

And then there's the AFC West. Ten weeks into the season and the division has a three-way tie for second place. The Oakland Raiders are in first place at 5-4 with the rest of the division tied at 4-5. The Raiders have been all over the place this season and it has reflected in the power rankings. They are yo-yo-ing up and down the rankings as they try and figure out what to make of the team with Carson Palmer now at the helm. It makes for entertaining and often infuriating football.

On to the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings (previous week in parenthesis). As always, feel free to tweet your disagreements to @sbnbayarea

1. (1) Green Bay Packers (9-0)
2. (2) San Francisco 49ers (8-1)
3. (4) New Orleans Saints (7-3)
4. (7) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)
5. (8) New England Patriots (5-4)
6. (12) Chicago Bears (6-3)
7. (3) Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
8. (5) New York Giants (6-3)
9. (6) Atlanta Falcons (5-4)
10. (11) Houston Texans (7-3)
11. (10) Cincinnati Bengals (6-2)
12. (9) Detroit Lions (6-3)
13. (15) Dallas Cowboys (5-4)
14. (19) Oakland Raiders (5-4)
15. (20) Tennessee Titans (5-4)
16. (13) Buffalo Bills (5-5)
17. (14) San Diego Chargers (4-5)
18. (16) New York Jets (5-4)
19. (23) Denver Broncos (4-5)
20. (17) Philadelphia Eagles (3-6)
21. (18) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5)
22. (27) Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)
23. (21) Kansas City Chiefs (4-5)
24. (22) Cleveland Browns (3-6)
25. (24) Minnesota Vikings (2-7)
26. (28) Arizona Cardinals (3-6)
27. (31) Seattle Seahawks (3-6)
28. (29) Miami Dolphins (2-7)
29. (30) St. Louis Rams (2-7)
30. (25) Carolina Panthers (2-7)
31. (26) Washington Redskins (3-6)
32. (32) Indianapolis Colts (0-10)

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 10: 49ers Football Outsiders Rates Out Hot 49ers, Cold Raiders

Although Football Outsiders uses a more objective tool for rating out the 32 NFL teams, DVOA can still reflect what a lot of us think about the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders. In their DVOA ratings through week nine, Football Outsiders continues to rate the 49ers No. 4 in both total DVOA and weighted DVOA. They rank the Raiders No. 21 in Total DVOA and No. 23 in Weighted DVOA.

The 49ers DVOA rating will be worth following this week as they face a highly rated New York Giants team. The Giants DVOA ranks No. 6 overall and would give the 49ers a nice little jolt after facing a pair of teams in the bottom third of the league. The Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns presented their own unique challenges, but the Giants bring a whole something else to the table.

The Raiders face off against a Chargers team that rates out one spot higher. Kansas City and Denver both rank below the Raiders as the AFC West is turning into a war of attrition where the last man standing wins. None of the teams is going to be particularly highly ranked at the end of the season in any power rankings, subjective or objective. It is just a matter of getting enough wins in a struggling division.

Here is how Football Outsiders ranks the top ten teams in overall efficiency (DVOA):

1. New York Jets
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Houston Texans
4. San Francisco 49ers
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. New York Giants
7. Atlanta Falcons
8. Detroit Lions
9. New England Patriots
10. Buffalo Bills

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 10: 49ers Hold Steady, Chargers, Raiders Continue Fall

It keeps looking the same for California teams. The San Francisco 49ers continue to make room on their bandwagon as they prove week after week that their record is no fluke. Meanwhile, the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders continue to fall back in the national Power Rankings as both teams can't seem to overcome lingering issues on both sides of the ball.

The 49ers are still ranked no. 2 this week in all three Power Rankings (ESPN, Sportsline and SBNation), sitting behind the only remaining undefeated team in the league, the Green Bay Packers. The way the Packers are playing, the 49ers will happily take no. 2 - for now.

The Chargers were in a shootout with those very Packers on Sunday but couldn't pull it out as Philip Rivers threw three more interceptions to add to his league-leading total (14) and further put doubt into the minds of Chargers fans if he'll ever remove himself from the second-tier of top quarterbacks and join the likes of Rodgers among the elite at the position. ESPN dropped them two spots to no. 17, Sportsline was three spots to no. 17 and SBNation was two spots to no. 14.

The Raiders miss Darren McFadden. But McFadden doesn't play defense so he wouldn't have been able to help the Raiders porous run defense from getting carved up by a college-style offense helmed by Tim Tebow. Be ashamed Raiders, be very ashamed. Nevertheless, all three websites listed Carson Palmer as the wrong answer at quarterback but that's nothing new. ESPN dropped them four spots to no. 21, Sportsline was three spots to no. 18 and SBNation was four spots to no. 17.

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Week 10 NFL Power Rankings: The NFC West Is Not Pretty

As the San Francisco 49ers roll towards what has now become an almost inevitable playoff spot, the rest of the NFC West seems to be going in reverse. Week nine saw the Seattle Seahawks dropped a 23-13 decision to the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals edge out the St. Louis Rams in overtime. The Seahawks and Cardinals now sit tied for "second" in the NFC West at 2-6, with the Rams in last at 1-7.

This poor play is reflected in weekly NFL power rankings where those three teams are circling the drain for the most part. In the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings over at SB Nation, the Cardinals are No. 28, the Seahawks are No. 29 and the Rams are No. 31. It is not a pretty picture at all. Last year we saw all four teams hanging down pretty low, but with a pair of 7-9 teams and a 6-10 team at season's end, I don't know if it was quite this bad.

The 49ers actually have a chance to clinch the division in two weeks when they face the Arizona Cardinals. It will require all three teams lose this week, but given the schedule that is not entirely out of the realm of possibility. The Seahawks host the Baltimore Ravens, the Cardinals travel to face the Philadelphia Eagles and the Rams travel to face the Cleveland Browns. The Rams have the most winnable game, but when you put them on the road, who knows what will happen.

Here are the top ten according to SB Nation:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. New Orleans Saints
5. Houston Texans
6. Detroit Lions
7. Cincinnati Bengals
8. New York Giants
9. Pittsburgh Steelers
10. New England Patriots

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 10: CBS Sports Keeps Oakland Raiders, AFC West Bunched Up

CBS Sports released their week ten NFL Power Rankings and following a fairly depressing weekend for the division, the top three all dropped, but remain bunched together. The Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders were previously Nos. 13-15, but dropped to Nos. 16-18.

All three co-division leaders lost on Sunday as once again we have a division where nobody seems prepared to stake their claim. This reminds me of last year's NFC West where there were two 7-9 teams at the end of the year. I don't think the AFC West will produce a sub-.500 division winner, but they are not exactly playing inspiring football.

As we move ahead to week ten, the division gets to square off to clear things up at least a little bit. The San Diego Chargers host the Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football, while the Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos Sunday morning. We will have no more than two teams in first place. A Broncos win would then give us a three-way tie for second place, a single game back of the winner of Chargers-Raiders. It's not pretty, but somebody's gotta win it!

Here are your top ten according to CBS Sports:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New York Giants
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Detroit Lions
7. Houston Texans
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. New Orleans Saints
10. Cincinnati Bengals

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 10: ESPN Sets Up 49ers Vs. Giants Matchup

The conclusion of week nine of the NFL season means it is time for more power rankings. ESPN released their week ten NFL power rankings and they are setting up what looks like the matchup of the week coming up. The San Francisco 49ers are holding steady at number two while their week ten opponent, the New York Giants, climbed up to No. 6.

Based simply on the power rankings, Lions-Bears and Bengals-Steelers are the two other high quality matchups of the week, and it is sort of fitting. The Lions will be looking to hold steady in one of the final two playoff spots, while the Bengals are looking to prove they are a legit threat to the Steelers in the AFC North. It should make for an exciting weekend of football.

The Oakland Raiders continue their free-fall as they now sit at No. 21, but they face their own huge game on Thursday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers. With the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Denver Broncos, we will be looking at either one or two teams moving into first place as the wild AFC West logjam continues. There is still a lot of AFC West football to be played, so this division will likely go down to the wire.

Here are the top ten according to ESPN:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. New Orleans Saints
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. New York Giants
7. Detroit Lions
8. Houston Texans
9. Chicago Bears
10. Cincinnati Bengals

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 10: 49ers Hold Steady, Raiders Free-Fall Continues

Week nine of the 2011 NFL season is in the books and the Green Bay Packers further established themselves as the top dogs in the NFL. They nearly blew a huge lead against the San Diego Chargers, but held on late after an offensive explosion and improved to 8-0. At this point, the Packers are simply a notch above everybody else to date.

The San Francisco 49ers improved to 7-1 and remain the only team to hold steady fairly consistently behind the Packers. As my own power rankings show, we had some changes in the three to eight range due in part to a pair of top ten matchups. The Ravens beat the Steelers and the Giants beat the Patriots, which shook up the top a little bit. The 49ers will have a chance to make some noise this week as they host the Giants. This will allow for some shake-up depending on the outcome of the game.

The Oakland Raiders continued their recent free-fall as they lost at home to the Denver Broncos, dropping to 4-4. The AFC West is a wild one right now with the Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers tied at 4-4 and the Broncos only a game back at 3-5. This race will go down to the wire as the Raiders try and figure out how to get their offense on track.

On to the Week 10 NFL Power Rankings (previous week in parenthesis). As always, feel free to tweet your disagreements to @sbnbayarea

1. (1) Green Bay Packers (8-0)
2. (2) San Francisco 49ers (7-1)
3. (5) Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
4. (6) New Orleans Saints (6-3)
5. (8) New York Giants (6-2)
6. (7) Atlanta Falcons (5-3)
7. (3) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
8. (4) New England Patriots (5-3)
9. (9) Detroit Lions (6-2)
10. (14) Cincinnati Bengals (6-2)
11. (11) Houston Texans (6-3)
12. (15) Chicago Bears (5-3)
13. (10) Buffalo Bills (5-3)
14. (12) San Diego Chargers (4-4)
15. (17) Dallas Cowboys (4-4)
16. (19) New York Jets (5-3)
17. (16) Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)
18. (18) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4)
19. (13) Oakland Raiders (4-4)
20. (20) Tennessee Titans (4-4)
21. (21) Kansas City Chiefs (4-4)
22. (22) Cleveland Browns (3-5)
23. (27) Denver Broncos (3-5)
24. (24) Minnesota Vikings (2-6)
25. (25) Carolina Panthers (2-6)
26. (23) Washington Redskins (3-5)
27. (28) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)
28. (30) Arizona Cardinals (2-6)
29. (32) Miami Dolphins (1-7)
30. (26) St. Louis Rams (1-7)
31. (29) Seattle Seahawks (2-6)
32. (31) Indianapolis Colts (0-9)

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 9: Football Outsiders Leave 49ers, Raiders In Similar Positions

The conclusion of week eight of the NFL season means NFL power rankings are coming out across the Internet. While most power rankings are almost entirely subjective and based on the whims of the media, Football Outsiders puts together an efficiency rating (DVOA) that operates much like an objective power ranking. It is not really a power ranking, but it does provide a ranking of teams in a relatively objective sense.

Through week eight, FO has kept the 49ers and Raiders similarly situated to last week. Coming off a bye, the Raiders remain 18th overall, ranked 12th on offense, 23rd on defense and 10th on special teams. Their offensive ranking will be interesting to follow over the next few weeks as they continue working Carson Palmer into the offense. Add in T.J. Houshmandzadeh and this is one of the intriguing stories of the next few weeks. Of course, with Darren McFadden hopefully back at running back, all could be well.

The 49ers dropped a spot to fourth in DVOA. They currently rank 18th on offense, 4th on defense and 2nd on special teams. They have been slowly but surely opening up the playbook, so it will be interesting to see how the offensive ranking adjusts over the coming weeks.

Here is how Football Outsiders ranks the top ten teams in overall efficiency (DVOA):

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Buffalo Bills
3. New York Jets
4. San Francisco 49ers
5. Houston Texans
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. New York Giants
8. New England Patriots
9. Detroit Lions
10. Atlanta Falcons

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 9: AFC West Turning Into A Jumbled Mess

Week eight of the NFL season has come to a close and we are looking at a potentially mad dash to the finish line in the AFC West. Through seven games, the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers are all sitting at 4-3 in the division. The Chiefs have the edge thanks to victories over both the Raiders and Chargers, but this race is a long way from being decided.

SB Nation released their Week 9 NFL Power Rankings and they have the three AFC West teams bunched up at 15 (Chiefs), 16 (Chargers) and 17 (Raiders). The Denver Broncos come in at a robust 29 and I don't think even Tim Tebow can save them this year. The remaining games between these three are as follows:

Oakland Raiders
Week 10 - @ San Diego Chargers
Week 16 - @ Kansas City Chiefs
Week 17 - vs. San Diego Chargers

Kansas City Chiefs
Week 16 - vs. Oakland

San Diego Chargers
Week 10 - vs. Oakland
Week 17 - @ Oakland

Oakland has the most remaining games against the division, but given how tight this race is looking, every extra win will count. The divisional games are huge, but the Raiders will have plenty of other games they will need to win. They absolutely cannot lose to Denver this week. They also cannot lose at Miami and probably Minnesota as well. It should make for a fun second half of the 2011 NFL season.

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 9: CBS Sports Nudges Up 49ers, Shoot Up Kansas City Chiefs

CBS Sports released their week nine NFL power rankings and they have given the 49ers the respect of placing them ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have won four straight and are coming off a victory over the New England Patriots. While I believe the 49ers deserve the number two spot, I also would not have been surprised to see the Steelers leapfrog them in the mainstream media. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed.

The biggest riser this week is the Oakland Raiders division rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. The AFC West has turned into a jumbled mess courtesy of the Chiefs four game winning streak to rocket them to the top of the division. The Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers all sit at 4-3, with KC holding the edge having beaten each team once. This race will likely go down to the wire as the three teams continue to beat up on each other.

CBS Sports has slotted the three AFC West teams next to each other, ranking them 13 (Chiefs), 14 (Chargers) and 15 (Raiders). It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next nine weeks.

Here are the top ten according to CBS Sports:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. New York Giants
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Buffalo Bills
7. New England Patriots
8. Detroit Lions
9. Houston Texans
10. Atlanta Falcons

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 9: ESPN Raises 49ers To No. 2

ESPN released their week nine NFL Power Rankings and have given the 49ers the nod at the second position over the Pittsburgh Steelers. There has been debate as to whether the Steelers are the second best team in the country, but the 49ers have their own legitimate argue for the spot.

The Steelers are coming off a victory over the New England Patriots and have won four straight. They are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. The 49ers defeated the Cleveland Browns 20-10 in a game that was far from perfect. However, the 49ers are also one overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys away from being undefeated. That is often forgotten as people rush to heap praise upon the more recently successful Steelers.

The Oakland Raiders were dropped two spots fro No. 15 to No. 17 as they come out of their bye hoping for a little something better from Carson Palmer. They have a host of talent at the skill positions and with Kansas City taking down San Diego, the AFC West is wide open and there for the taking. The three West teams are ranked 15 (Chargers), 17 (Raiders) and 18 (Chiefs) and that seems just about fitting given how tight it is.

Here are the top ten according to ESPN:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. New England Patriots
6. New Orleans Saints
7. Buffalo Bills
8. Detroit Lions
9. New York Giants
10. Chicago Bears

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 9: Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers Battle For No. 2 Spot

Week eight of the 2011 NFL season is complete and we had a modest shakeup at the top of the power rankings. With the Patriots Saints and Chargers all losing, the top ten has switched up a bit, including the addition of the Buffalo Bills back into the top ten. The San Francisco 49ers climbed a spot to number two while the Pittsburgh Steelers climbed two spots to number three. The undefeated Green Bay Packers remain at the top of the rankings as they continue rolling along in defense of their championship.

Around the Internet there will be much debate today as to whether the Steelers are the second best team in the NFL. I elected to keep them one spot below the 49ers for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I am probably a bit of an unabashed homer. The more realistic reason is that while beating the Patriots at home is a solid win, it is not the end-all, be-all win some might make it out to be. The Patriots are a solid team, but they have significant weaknesses this year. The Steelers exploited them and got the victory. The 49ers did not blow up the Cleveland Browns, but they handled their business as required.

That is not to say there are not arguments for slotting them at number two, but for now I'm sticking with the 49ers. The good news is that the teams do get a chance to square off on Monday Night Football on December 19. That should be quite the showdown given how well the two teams are playing.

The biggest gainer this week would have to be the Philadelphia Eagles. They have climbed back from the ledge and suddenly find themselves in the thick of the NFC East playoff race. If the Eagles are in fact bringing everything together, they are an incredibly dangerous team moving forward.

On to the Week 9 NFL Power Rankings (previous week in parenthesis). As always, feel free to tweet your disagreements to @sbnbayarea

1. (1) Green Bay Packers (7-0)
2. (3) San Francisco 49ers (6-1)
3. (5) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)
4. (2) New England Patriots (5-2)
5. (6) Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
6. (4) New Orleans Saints (5-3)
7. (7) Atlanta Falcons (4-3)
8. (8) New York Giants (5-2)
9. (10) Detroit Lions (6-2)
10. (11) Buffalo Bills (5-2)
11. (13) Houston Texans (5-3)
12. (9) San Diego Chargers (4-3)
13. (12) Oakland Raiders (4-3)
14. (16) Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)
15. (14) Chicago Bears (4-3)
16. (21) Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
17. (15) Dallas Cowboys (3-4)
18. (17) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3)
19. (18) New York Jets (4-3)
20. (22) Tennessee Titans (4-3)
21. (24) Kansas City Chiefs (4-3)
22. (19) Cleveland Browns (3-4)
23. (20) Washington Redskins (3-4)
24. (28) Minnesota Vikings (2-6)
25. (23) Carolina Panthers (2-6)
26. (30) St. Louis Rams (1-6)
27. (25) Denver Broncos (2-5)
28. (26) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)
29. (27) Seattle Seahawks (2-5)
30. (29) Arizona Cardinals (1-6)
31. (31) Indianapolis Colts (0-8)
32. (32) Miami Dolphins (0-7)

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 8: 49ers Impressing With Strong Schedule?

The San Francisco 49ers have climbed into the top five of most NFL Power Rankings thus far and are in a position to build on their recent run of success. SB Nation NFL Power Rankings ranked them fourth behind the Packers, Saints and Patriots and looked at their remaining schedule as fairly user friendly.

The 49ers five victories thus far were built against the Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions. Their one loss came in overtime against the Dallas Cowboys. While this is not exactly the cream of the crop in the NFL, this includes a mix of some solid teams. Each team has its share of question marks, but each team has also won some big games thus far.

As the 49ers move into the remaining ten games of their schedule, it is hard for 49ers to not get excited about the prospects for January. The team is a heavy favorite to win the NFC West at this point and the remaining schedule provides a chance at double digit wins for the first time since 2002. While they do play in a crapy division, they have played a strong enough schedule to date to be considered one of the truly "good" teams in the NFL through seven weeks. Now they have an opportunity to reap the rewards of the rest of their schedule.

Here is the top ten in SB Nation's power rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. New England Patriots
4. San Francisco 49ers
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. San Diego Chargers
8. Detroit Lions
9. Buffalo Bills
10. New York Giants

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 8: CBS Sports Bumps 49ers Up Two Spots

CBS Sports posted their week eight NFL power rankings and the 49ers continue to enter rarified air, even coming off a bye week. CBS had ranked the Ravens third and the Chargers fourth heading into week seven. When they both lost, the 49ers climbed from No. 5 to No. 3. The biggest playing climber was the New Orleans Saints who moved up four spots on the heels of their demolition of the Indianapolis Colts.

The Oakland Raiders saw their rankings drop from No. 9 to No. 15 as they head into their bye week. The Raiders will use the time to better develop their offense around Carson Palmer. There were some reports that Raiders wide receivers would be sticking around town through the bye week to work with Palmer. The more chemistry they can develop, the better.

As we move ahead to week eight, the biggest matchup on the schedule would be the 5-1 New England Patriots traveling to face the 5-2 Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers got off to a rocky start but have bounced back in a big way. With the 49ers hosting the Cleveland Browns this week, the 49ers very well could end up ranked No. 2 in CBS Sports' rankings next week. Pittsburgh could also leap frog them with a win over New England, but we'll see how they perform against the Patriots.

Here are the top 15 teams according to CBS Sports:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. New England Patriots
3. San Francisco 49ers
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. New York Giants
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. Buffalo Bills
8. New Orleans Saints
9. Detroit Lions
10. San Diego Chargers
11. Houston Texans
12. Atlanta Falcons
13. Cincinnati Bengals
14. Dallas Cowboys
15. Oakland Raiders

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 8: ESPN Drops Raiders Considerably

ESPN has released their Week 8 NFL Power Rankings and they have given the Oakland Raiders a sizable drop following their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. ESPN maintained the 49ers at the number four position coming out of their bye week. New Orleans leap-frogged the 49ers on the heels of their demolition of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football.

The Raiders were upset at home by the Kansas City Chiefs thanks to a variety of miscues in personnel and coaching. The Raiders now sit at 4-3 heading into their bye week. Following the loss of Jason Campbell, the Raiders made a quick trade to acquire Carson Palmer from the Cincinnati Bengals. High draft picks aside, the next week and a half will be pivotal as the Raiders try and get back on track moving forward.

The 49ers head into their post-bye schedule looking to wrack up wins against a less difficult schedule than they saw in the first half. They play several tough teams, but they get a lot of games that do not appear quite so difficult. Part of that is having half their remaining games come against an NFC West that is struggling mightily aside from the 49ers. The 49ers host the Browns this weekend, looking to improve to 6-1.

Here are the top 15 teams according to ESPN:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. New England Patriots
3. New Orleans Saints
4. San Francisco 49ers
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. Buffalo Bills
8. Detroit Lions
9. San Diego Chargers
10. Chicago Bears
11. New York Giants
12. Houston Texans
13. New York Jets
14. Atlanta Falcons
15. Oakland Raiders

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NFL Power Rankings, Week 8: 49ers Another Spot Up, Raiders Drop

We break down week 8 of the NFL season through our NFL Power Rankings. The 49ers climb a spot in spite of being on a bye, while the Raiders drop after a tough loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation. For more on the Raiders, check out Silver & Black Pride.

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