NFL Power Rankings, Week Three: A Little More Subjective (ESPN), A Little More Objective (Football Outsiders)

Every Tuesday, media contribute their thoughts on the league through NFL power rankings that have a certain discussion value to them. While most are almost entirely subjective, it is still interesting to see how people assess the 49ers.

Looking at a few rankings, SB Nation NFL's Week Three Power Rankings dropped the 49ers from 19 to 20, ESPN rankings dropped them from 22 to 23, and CBS Sports rankings dropped them from 20 to 23. All have their reasons and all are somewhat influenced by the teams around them. You have a team win a game and you feel obligated to move them up, which means another team has to drop somewhere along the way. In looking at most rankings, I would actually have the 49ers and Raiders joined at the hip through two weeks of the season. They've both had ugly wins and ugly blown leads. They bring different things to the table on offense, defense and special teams, but something seems similar about them. I'm not sure what exactly, but it's there for me.

One "power ranking" that I'm a little more interested in is not really a power ranking in the traditional sense. Football Outsiders releases their weekly DVOA ratings on Tuesday and while even FO has their flaws (nobody tell Danny!), it gives a slightly more objective look at the league through DVOA and DAVE. DVOA compares performance to league average and looks at the current situation. DAVE combines that current projection with preseason projections. As the season moves on, preseason projections account for less and less. Through two weeks, preseason projections account for 75% of DAVE.

As FO's ratings currently stand, the 49ers dropped from No. 5 to No. 11 in DVOA and actually climbed from No. 17 to No. 15 in DAVE. Maybe Danny can chime in with a few comments on that, but the 49ers unit rankingsremained fairly static from last week as they remained the same on offense and special teams and actually climbed a bit in defense from No. 7 to No. 6. I'm guessing that, combined with the decrease in the value of preseason projections is what caused the slight bump up.

The 49ers now face off against a Bengals squad that is ranked No. 11 in DVOA and No. 19 in DAVE. Their biggest drawback is on special teams, which hopefully means big things from the 49ers special teamers. The Cowboys ranked poorly in special teams DVOA and the 49ers had a solid day with one good kick return by Anthony Dixon, some solid punt returns by Ted Ginn and continued success from Andy Lee and David Akers.

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