NFL Power Rankings are being released across the Internet, and the 49er are either holding steady, or making a modest move following the Ravens loss to the Jaguars. In my personal NFL Power Rankings, I chose to bump them up one spot to No. 3. Some folks have elected to leapfrog the New Orleans Saints over the 49ers on the backs of their 62-7 drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts. I do think the point total is impressive, but given that it was the Colts, how much credit does it get? It's an impressive win, but it's still the Colts, who are battling the Miami Dolphins for the position of worst team in the NFL.
Joel Thorman over at SB Nation NFL actually moved the Saints all the way up to second from their previous seventh ranking. In the SB Nation NFL Power Rankings, Joel mentioned how the 49ers could very well get to 12 or 13 wins on the back of their remaining ten games. Rather than look ahead to that, I thought I'd look back at the schedule that was.
The combined record of the 49ers victories to date stands at 20-18. Seattle, Tampa Bay and Detroit all lost, Dallas won, and Cincinnati and Philadelphia were on a bye. While it is interesting to see the combined record of opponents, I don't think that is the most useful way to assess the team.
NFL teams ebb and flow over the course of the season and the final strength of schedule will not always accurately reflect the abilities of a given team at the time the 49ers played them. For example, the Buccaneers were 3-1 when they met the 49ers. They are not as bad as the team that was crushed 48-3, but they are inconsistent enough that it might cost them a playoff spot. On the other hand, the Philadelphia Eagles are 2-4 right now, but they might be bouncing back and they were playing the 49ers well prior to the second half collapse.
While this is not a matter of simply considering the 49ers in a vacuum, I don't know of a better way to assess their schedule. They beat a Bengals team that is currently 4-2, but I honestly can't tell you whether Cincinnati is a "good" team. Their best win is over the Buffalo Bills who also can be good, but can struggle on occasion. It's not as simple as looking at combined wins and losses.
Then you've got the 49ers win over the Lions, who seem to be heading into a tailspin now. Some will say that shows the Lions were not as good as some thought. Others can say the 49ers knocked them off their perch and sent them into the tailspin. I'll take the latter at this point.
All we know is that the 49ers are a good football team right now. And I suppose that is all that really matters.