San Francisco 49ers: NFL Power Rankings

A weekly examination of the 49ers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 3 | Last Week: 5 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The San Francisco 49ers are a Power Rankings reminder to all top teams: Losses are much more damaging than victories are rewarding.

During their five-game win streak (which included a bye week), the 49ers could only move from No. 8 to No. 5. However, after a one-point loss to Carolina, all that progress was wiped out. The 49ers are back to No. 8 again, where they were in Week 5 when they were 2-2.

I think some context is needed. It was a one-point defeat to a Carolina team that has won five straight games. It is not a devastating loss for the 49ers. They are still on track for the playoffs, although they very likely are out of the NFC West race as they trail Seattle by 2.5 games.

Still, the 49ers’ overall health is much better than a three-spot drop may indicate.
A weekly examination of the San Francisco 49ers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

What are the Week 1 Power Rankings all about?

Respect and expectations. And the 49ers head into the 2013 season with plenty of both. Can’t complain too much about being ranked No. 3 heading into a new season.

Yes, I’m sure 49ers are fans wringing their hands over not being ranked No. 1. And it has to be particularly wrenching to see San Francisco ranked below NFC West rival Seattle (ranked No. 1), and the team the 49ers beat in the NFC championship game, Atlanta, ranked No. 2.

I get it. Why are they ranked below two teams they finished better than last year? It’s a legitimate question. But perhaps the slight knock serves as motivation for Jim Harbaugh.

And, most importantly, remember this -- I do not have a vote. I’m just messenger on this one.

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