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NFL Power Rankings: ESPN Places Niners, Raiders Towards Bottom of the Barrel

With head coaching changes, losses of highly talented players and numerous question marks throughout their lineups the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders aren't starting the preseason schedule out as Super Bowl contenders according to ESPN's latest NFL power rankings. Obviously they are preseason rankings in which not a single team has taken a game time snap in any way, shape or form, but it's nice to know that the rest of the NFL has so much faith in the Bay Area's football teams. Make the jump to learn more!

The Raiders rank 23rd on ESPN's preseason ranking list after finishing last year's in 15th place overall. AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky tries to shine some light on positive things going on with the team instead of any negative ones:

The Raiders are on the rise if Jason Campbell can play consistently. You have to like Hue Jackson's energy.

Key word in this phrase is "if" as in "if Jason Campbell can play consistently." True, Hue Jackson is an energetic guy, but energy doesn't equal W's in the NFL, just go ask Mike Singletary.

As for the 49ers, they sit 26th in the rankings, falling a spot from 25th at the end of last season, meaning ESPN has little to no hope that the Jim Harbaugh era starts off with a bang. Here's what was said about them by NFC West blogger Mike Sando in the rankings:

Widespread changes on defense raise questions about 49ers' short-term prospects.

umm....OK. Obviously Sando is being very specific and focused on a clear-cut issue with the Niners... the defense? I thought signing guys like Carlos Rogers, Donte Whitner and Madieu Williams were going to help the Niners in the short-term and possibly the long-term, but hey, I'm not Mike Sando.

For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation. For the Raiders, Silver and Black Pride is where you want to be.