Well, the 49ers win another game and they start to see some real movement in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings. After winning their overtime contest with the Rams for their second straight week, the 49ers jumped in our pool of power rankings an average of three spots to approximately 24th. Our SB Nation overlords illustrated that perfectly with their ranking of 24 in the Week 11 SB Nation NFL Power Rankings:
24. San Francisco 49ers (3-6)
Last week's rank: 28
Last game: Rams (won)
SB Nation: Niners Nation
Watch out, the 49ers are two games back in the NFC West after winning three of their last four. We're not quite ready to write these guys off after all.
Indeed the 49ers are temporarily back from the grave. The next two games are fairly crucial for the faint 49ers playoff hopes. The team has a legitimate chance of making the playoffs, but I would argue these next two games are must wins. If they beat the Buccaneers they put themselves in a position to finish the season 8-8. If the lose to the Bucs, the only non-divisional games remaining are @ Green Bay December 5 and @ San Diego December 16. The Green Bay game is obviously a difficult one given the talent on the Packers. The San Diego game could prove difficult because the Chargers have never lost in December under Norv Turner as they somehow turn things around late in the season.
Beating the Bucs and Cardinals these next two weeks doesn't guarantee anything, but it puts the 49ers in a position to make some noise late in the season. The NFL and NBC announced today that they will not be utilizing the flex option this weekend. Come Week 16 when the 49ers and Rams are potentially battling for NFC West supremacy, is it possible that game gets flexed to Sunday Night Football? That weekend will feature Jets-Bears, Titans-Chiefs, Colts-Raiders, and Giants-Packers, along with the 49ers-Rams matchup. The current Sunday Night matchup that weekend is Chargers-Bengals. Given how the Bengals season is falling apart I'd imagine we'll see changes in that game. It's just a matter of what gets flexed in. Plenty of time until then to figure it out.
After the jump I've posted the various weekly power rankings for the NFC West and the averages...
ESPN - #25 (28) - Troy Smith has completed 17 of 20 passes for 357 yards on first down in two starts. (Sando)
- Arizona - #27 (25)
- Seattle - #20 (24)
- St. Louis - #23 (21)
The Big Lead - #25 (26) - Is Troy Smith the answer? I guess that depends on what your question is.
- Arizona - #31 (28)
- Seattle - #27 (27)
- St. Louis - #22 (23)
Fox Sports - #24 (27) - Well, Troy Smith played the best game of his career to this point in last week's win over the Rams. There's simply no way he won't be the starter the rest of the way. He has a much stronger arm than Alex Smith.
- Arizona - #28 (26)
- Seattle - #17 (24)
- St. Louis - #21 (16)
CBS Sports - #22 (27) - Troy Smith is locked in as the starter. That's the way it should be. He's earned it. They are alive in the division, which is amazing considering their start.
- Arizona - #29 (25)
- Seattle - #19 (23)
- St. Louis - #23 (19)
Pro Football Talk (via NBCSports.com) - #24 (27) - The Troy Smith era officially has begun. Don't blink.
- Arizona - #28 (25)
- Seattle - #20 (24)
- St. Louis - #21 (18)
NFL Fanhouse - #25 (28) - The 49ers won going into their Week 9 bye, then topped the Rams in a hard-fought overtime game Sunday, putting them just two games back in the NFC West. Troy Smith is cementing his position as the team's starting quarterback -- and he gets another home game to prove himself in Week 11 against Tampa Bay. -- RW
- Arizona - #27 (26)
- Seattle - #14 (25)
- St. Louis - #22 (22)