ESPN released their Week 5 NFL Power Rankings and as was the case early on, the 49ers and Raiders are joined at the hip. As the two teams moved out to 1-1 to start the season, they remained in lockstep with each other. Although both improved to 2-1, the Raiders had a strong victory over the New York Jets while the 49ers barely escaped with a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
A week later and the 49ers huge road win over the Philadelphia Eagles coupled with the Raiders tough loss to the New England Patriots has brought them back together. ESPN currently ranks the Raiders 15 and the 49ers 16.
ESPN gave their brief descriptions for each team as follows:
Raiders: This trip to Houston could prove crucial if Oakland doesn't win the AFC West and wants to still be in the playoff mix.
49ers: Jim Harbaugh's credibility surges after a 20-point comeback at Philly.
Both make absolute sense. The Raiders face a huge game at Houston this Sunday. The Raiders are in the mix for a playoff spot but need to get things on track after the tough loss to New England. Houston isn't a must-win game, but they at least need to come away with a strong performance against the Texans.
The 49ers host Tampa Bay this Sunday in a game that also isn't must-win but would put them in the driver's seat in the NFC West. The 49ers currently hold a two game lead on the division and another non-division win could be pivotal.
Here are the top ten at ESPN:
1. Green Bay Packers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. New England Patriots
4. Detroit Lions
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Houston Texans
7. San Diego Chargers
8. Tennessee Titans
9. Buffalo Bills
10. New York Giants