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: