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NFL power rankings 2017: Heading into Week 4, it’s a big test for the 49ers

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We’re back with Week 4 NFL power rankings, as the 49ers look to finally get in the win column.

Los Angeles Rams vs San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The NFL gets Week 4 underway in 36 hours with a traditional NFC North rivalry matchup, as the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears. Chicago is actually looking moderately better than I think many expected. They are 1-2, but that includes giving the Atlanta Falcons all they could handle, and beating the Pittsburgh Steelers. They might be better than we thought.

Yesterday, I put together my Week 4 NFL power rankings. I ranked the 49ers No. 26, bumping them ahead of the Los Angeles Chargers after a near upset of the Rams, and the Chargers never really in it loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Once again, in looking around the Internet, a host of folks have the 49ers near the bottom of the pack.

I took a look at numerous Week 4 NFL power rankings, going with 12 this week instead of 10. Nine had them ranked No. 30 or worse. I gave the 49ers the highest ranking among any of them. I suppose that would be par for the course. The 49ers have lost three straight games to open the season, but I feel like they’ve shown some things the past two weeks to justify a bump up. If they crap the bed in Arizona this weekend, I suppose I’ll drop them back closer to the bottom. This week marks a big test for a team that still needs to get into the win column. There are only so many moral victories to be had.

Here are 12 sets of power rankings to check out for Week 4.

SB Nation: 27

A rough start was to be expected for rebuilding teams like the 49ers and Browns. But for the Bengals, Giants, and Chargers, this is a disaster. New York, in particular, was a team many thought would be a real competitor after an 11-5 season last year.

The last team to make the playoffs following an 0-3 start was the 1998 Bills, so the reality is that all five teams that haven’t found a win yet are just about toast.

ESPN: 29

Brian Hoyer: 27.2 Total QBR. Hoyer has thrown an interception in every game this season after not throwing any all of last year, leading to the fifth-worst Total QBR in the NFL. If he's going to turn it around, he'll have to do it on the road. The 49ers' next three games are all away.

CBS Sports: 31

At least the offense came alive against the Rams. That's a good sign moving forward.

Pro Football Talk: 31

If it’s any consolation, I almost made them No. 31. 31

Through a whole two weeks, fans were down on Brian Hoyer and the state of Kyle Shanahan's offense. But the "Thursday Night Football" loss flipped the script. Hoyer made some difficult throws, namely the fourth-quarter teardrop right into the hands of a sprinting Pierre Garcon. No, San Francisco didn't win. The defense didn't play well, but Shanahan's boys gave the Bay Area faithful something to cheer. All 638 of those who showed up, that is.

Washington Post: 31

The 49ers can’t win. But they were extremely entertaining and competitive Thursday night against the Rams. That will have to be enough in Year 1 of Coach Kyle Shanahan’s reign.

Yahoo! Shutdown Corner: 31

Their last two games they battled in close games at the Seahawks and against the Rams. They haven’t broken through with a win yet but they’re playing hard for Kyle Shanahan.

CSN Mid-Atlantic: 29

It's just the 49ers luck to score 39 points and still lose. But their Thursday night performance in that shootout vs. the Rams should, at the very least, cause their next few opponents to take them a little more seriously in the coming weeks. It's still hard to take them too seriously in these power rankings, however.

Chicago Tribune: 31

Defensive line of Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead should be pretty good for several seasons, but they couldn’t get one sack in 41-39 loss to Rams. 31

Thursday night was an improvement for the offense, but the talent deficiency on this roster is still a major issue.

Detroit Free-Press: 30

Give them credit for giving us a surprisingly entertaining game last Thursday night, because that may be the last time the 49ers do so all year.

Bleacher Report: 31

There are things to be excited about with the 49ers. Kyle Shanahan's offense is going to be fun to watch, especially if the team can find a legitimate offensive line and some more playmakers.

We're seeing that this is an offense capable of breaking big runs and making long pass plays.

It was surprising to see the defense struggle the way it did against the Rams. There were too many big plays surrendered in the pass game and in the running game. After a solid first couple of weeks, the defense took a step back. San Francisco has a lot of talent on its defensive line, but it was pushed around and failed to get pressure on quarterback Jared Goff.

San Francisco put itself into a hole early but battled back. The problem is there aren't those two or three game-changers who can help overcome such early holes. Quarterback Brian Hoyer has thrown an interception that has put the team in a tough spot in each of its three games. If he can cut that out, the 49ers can steal some wins.