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Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: 49ers In A Clump Of Teams

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The San Francisco 49ers loss to the Arizona Cardinals dropped them to 10-3 and moves them into a virtual tie with the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Houston Texans. Tiebreakers leave some teams over others, but they're all 10-3.

I put together my weekly NFL power rankings at SB Nation Bay Area and dropped the 49ers from No. 5 to No. 6. I had them lower than some folks last week and that partially impacted why I didn't drop them lower. With a full two games between the 10-3 teams and everybody else, I am content leaving the 49ers in that group of 10-3 teams.

I honestly am not sure what to make of the rest of that group. Aside from the Ravens remaining ahead of the Steelers (given the two wins), you could make logically sound arguments for including almost anybody in that group ahead of the rest. I don't think there is any right answer right now for which of the 10-3 teams is "the best" of them.

I put the 49ers ahead of the Texans because the way the Texans are currently constructed would seem to fit into the 49ers wheelhouse. T.J. Yates made some plays against Cincinnati, but I'm not ready to jump all over that bandwagon. They remains a rushing and defense team and the 49ers rush defense leaves me moderately comfortable if the 49ers faced a team like Houston. I'm not saying it's remotely any sort of lock for victory, but I can live with it.

The rest of the teams I have ahead of the 49ers give me some reason or another to take pause. You could argue the Patriots are the worst of that group in part because their pass defense is epically bad. The Saints have a very questionable pass defense as well, but something about the Pats just strikes me as truly abysmal. Maybe it was Rex Grossman having his way with them. Who knows.

When you've got this clump of teams locked in together, it opens the door for plenty of debate. I am most curious to see how the Texans do these remaining weeks with T.J. Yates running the show. They host Carolina, travel to Indy and host Tennessee to close out the season. It is entirely possible they could roll into the playoffs at 13-3 and the one or two seed but still have some question marks regarding Yates (sound familiar?).

Most everybody has the 49ers at six or seven. I think you could make an argument for five or maybe four, but that argument can be further amplified this Monday against the Steelers.

SB Nation Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: #6
ESPN NFL Power Rankings: #6
CBS Sports NFL Power Rankings: #7
FOX Sports NFL Power Rankings: #7