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NFL Power Rankings, Week 4: How Much Respect Do The Raiders & 49ers Deserve?

The latest edition of NFL Power Rankings are coming out and while power rankings in general are a simple basis for discussion, it does raise the question of where the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers sit on the NFL's totem pole. While they are both 2-1, they have gone about things in much different ways lately and likely have earned different levels of respect.

The Raiders are coming off a thumping of the New York Jets in which they proved once again how strong their rushing attack is. While the Raiders are putting together a solid passing game, this team will go as far as Darren McFadden takes them. Jason Campbell has great weapons in Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, but McFadden is the engine of this team.

While I personally gave the Raiders a pretty sizable bounce this week, the SB Nation Week 4 NFL Power Rankings were slightly more modest. Nonetheless, they bumped them eight spots from No. 23 to No. 15. This shows both respect and caution. The Raiders face a huge challenge this weekend when they welcome the New England Patriots to town. The Patriots will give the Raiders defense one of its toughest challenges to date. The Raiders offense will potentially need to win another shootout, two weeks after dropping such a contest to the Buffalo Bills. The Raiders are a legit contender for the AFC West title, but this weekend could tell us how legit they are as an overall playoff contender.

On the other side of the Bay you've got the San Francisco 49ers. In my own power rankings I moved them up one spot. In SB Nation's NFL Power Rankings, they did not move from their spot at No. 20. While the 49ers did get a road win against the Cincinnati Bengals, it was as modest a win as a team can probably have. Ugly wins count the same as pretty wins in the standings, but for the purposes of perception, it did not do a whole lot for the 49ers and remaining right around the same spot is reasonable. Now, if they can go into Philly and spring an upset on the Eagles, maybe then we can talk about moving them around.