ESPN put together their weekly NFL power rankings and had the 49ers ranked No. 20. For the most part the 49ers have been right around 20, with their highest ranking (#18) likely coming in my personal power rankings at SB Nation Bay Area.
Chris Sprow from ESPN has started a weekly series in which he looks at ESPN's power rankings and tries to determine whether certain teams are underrated or overrated. He uses the power rankings, AccuScore's projections and Super Bowl odds from the Hilton in Las Vegas. From this he comes up with three overrated teams and three underrated teams throughout the NFL.
Following week three, our 49ers are listed in the underrated column along with the Raiders and Steelers. For the 49ers, he thinks a more fitting rank is No. 16. The problem with that is that part of his discussion is the fact that the NFC West is so weak this year and the 49ers have an opportunity to potentially dominate it (if things come together appropriately).
Based simply on that, I would argue that for now the 49ers are rated just about right. I wouldn't say "They are who we thought they are" because we still don't really know enough about this 49ers team. I've seen some comments saying this team is awful and might as well tank the season. I've also seen folks who are ready to buy their playoff tickets.
It really is all over the place at this point. This team will really make their bones in the second half of the season. Five of the final eight games are against NFC West opponents. While that does leave the next five games as a chance to make a statement, the 49ers simply need to tread water heading into the second half of the season. Going 0-5 the rest of the first half is not going to help them, but they don't necessarily need to dominate the coming stretch of games. It really is an odd sensation for a team, but one truly befitting the NFC West.