NFL Power Rankings Week 14: Ravens Knock Off 49ers From No. 1
Jose Luis Sanchez III
For the last four weeks, the San Francisco 49ers had the top spot in the NFL power rankings locked up. They were even able to maintain their position after a week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. It seemed like they were untouchable up until they squared off against the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers suffered their second loss of the season in their trip to Baltimore.
Not only did the Ravens hand the 49ers a loss, but they knocked off the 49ers from the No. 1 slot in the week 14 NFL power rankings.
The 49ers find themselves ranked No. 3 this week, both because of their loss and Seattle beating the Vikings on Monday night football. San Francisco's fall from grace this week continues. First it was falling from the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs to the No. 5 seed as a Wild Card. Now it is the power rankings that has them in a bit of a free fall.
It's only natural that the 49ers dropped a couple of spots. Their matchup with the Ravens this past Sunday was essentially a battle for the No.1 spot in the power rankings. While being slotted at No. 3 is still a strong position to be in, the 49ers can jump back to their top spot with a win over the New Orleans Saints this Sunday.
The Saints are also in the same group as the Ravens and Seahawks for knocking off the 49ers from a top spot. New Orleans is now the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the playoffs, which is something that can't be sitting too well with the 49ers. They have a shot to prove that they are true No. 1 seed in the NFC. Not to mention that they should be fired up to get back on the winning side after losing another game decided by a last second field goal.
On the surface of this looming matchup, defeating the Saints appears to be another difficult challenge for the 49ers. The Saints have had a few extra days of rest and preparation. They were already going to be a handful to game plan against on a regularly scheduled week, but those extra days could benefit New Orleans. However, the Saints were exposed a bit on Thanksgiving against the Atlanta Falcons.
The offensive line struggled to protect Drew Brees, which is something the 49ers' pass rush will be drooling at the mouth when they watch the film. This could be a field day for these pass rushers since they will finally catch a break on going up against freakishly athletic dual-threat quarterbacks. Brees is practically a statue when you compare him to the quarterbacks the 49ers have faced the last few weeks.
Even the defense of the Saints look exploitable, specifically with their secondary. Outside of cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the Saints are lacking quality depth at the position. The edge has to be given to the side of the 49ers' wide receivers because of how sharp and quick their route running is. That is what stoodout as a weakness when they faced Atlanta last week. The Saints' secondary struggled against the Falcons receivers and that was without star wideout Julio Jones.
The San Francisco 49ers have a great shot to return back to their first-round bye status and as a top team in the power rankings next week. So long as they stay motivated and focused heading into Sunday, they should achieve the results they desire.