NFL Rankings: 49ers chasing Vikings, Raiders climb during bye


NFL Rankings: 49ers chasing Vikings, Raiders climb during bye

The 49ers only blemish is a loss to Minnesota. Maybe it isn't much of a blemish because the Vikings are rolling.

The Raiders climbed four spots, but the No. 2 Atlanta Falcons await them this Sunday.

1 (1) Houston Texans (5-0) Swattin' and sackin' J.J. Watt making an early case for NFL defensive player of the year. 2 (2) Atlanta Falcons (5-0) Matty Ice as hot as they come now. 3 (5) Minnesota Vikings (4-1) Percy Harvin evolving into elite dual threat. 4 (6) 49ers (4-1) Scary good when all cylinders firing at once. 5 (4) Baltimore Ravens (4-1) If only Justin Tucker was the kicker in last year's AFC title tilt. 6 (7) Chicago Bears (4-1) Bears defense is Pick-6 Central. 7 (3) Arizona Cardinals (4-1) Now we'll see how they respond to a tough loss. 8 (8) New England Patriots (3-2) Tom Brady improves to 9-4 vs. Peyton Manning. 9 (9) San Diego Chargers (3-2) Norv thought the real refs being back meant no more blown calls. 10 (10) Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) A.J. Green the fourth WR in NFL history with at least 100 catches in first 20 games. 11 (11) Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) Defense has gone two games without a sack for first time since 2008. 12 (15) New York Giants (3-2) Gangnam Style? The Victor Cruz Salsa Celebration is all the rage in Gotham. 13 (19) St. Louis Rams (3-2) Rams are over .500 for first time since 2006, or 93 games ago. 14 (12) Seattle Seahawks (3-2) The Seahawks are leading the NFL in total defense. Seriously. 15 (14) Dallas Cowboys (2-2) Bye week nugget -- Cowboys have won four games since 1996 without scoring a TD. 16 (21) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) Steelers improve to 5-1 in first game after bye under Mike Tomlin. 17 (24) Indianapolis Colts (2-2) With coach Chuck Pagano fighting leukemia, emotional Colts band together. 18 (13) Green Bay Packers (2-3) Aaron Rodgers first reigning NFL MVP to lose to two rookie QBs. 19 (16) Denver Broncos (2-3) Peyton Manning is 6-10 against Bill Belichick's Patriots since 2000, including the playoffs. 20 (17) New York Jets (2-3) When will Tim Tebow point out that Mark Sanchez's QB rating is 66.6? 21 (18) Buffalo Bills (2-3) First team to give up at least 550 yards of offense in consecutive weeks since 1950 Yanks. 22 (20) Washington (2-3) RG III is concussed, putting Mike Shanahan's "genius" label to the test again. 23 (22) Miami Dolphins (2-3) Brian Hartline is leading the NFL in receiving yards. That is all. 24 (23) Detroit Lions (1-3) With the bye, they've had plenty of time to prep for Ron Mexico, er, Mike Vick. 25 (29) Raiders (1-3) The art of winning without playing? Raiders sit and pick up 12 a game on entire AFC West. 26 (26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) And yet, they're in second place in the NFC South. 27 (28) Carolina Panthers (1-4) Cam Newton has had QB ratings under 60.0 in two of last three games. 28 (27) Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) From fans cheering Matt Cassel's injury to horrid start, a mess. Simply a mess. 29 (31) New Orleans Saints (1-4) The last time Drew Brees did not toss a TD ? Try Oct. 4 , 2009. 30 (25) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) What homefield advantage? Jags outscored 95-20 at EverBank Field this season. 31 (30) Tennessee Titans (1-4) Hey, didnt you used to be Chris Johnson? 32 (32) Cleveland Browns (0-5) The Browns have turned the ball over in 23 straight games.

Report: 49ers free agent ILB signing with rival Seahawks

Report: 49ers free agent ILB signing with rival Seahawks

Michael Wilhoite has spent his whole five-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers.

But now the free agent inside linebacker is reportedly switching sides in the NFC West rivalry. Wilhoite is set to sign with the Seattle Seahawks, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. 

Terms of the deal are unknown at this time. 

Wilhoite, 30, played in all 16 games last season for the 49ers, starting in only six. In 2016 he recorded 55 tackles, 30 less than 2015 in four less games, and forced one fumble. 

After earning a promotion from the 49ers' practice squad in 2012, Wilhoite's career in the Bay Area comes to an end with 268 tackles and three interceptions in 65 games. 

NFL owners mull cutting regular-season OT to 10 minutes

NFL owners mull cutting regular-season OT to 10 minutes

NEW YORK -- NFL owners will consider proposals next week to cut regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10; eliminate players leaping over the line on kick plays; and expansion of coaches' challenges and what can be reviewed by officials.

In what promises to be a busy annual meeting next week in Phoenix that will include discussing the Raiders' potential relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas, the 32 owners also will vote on changing the mechanics on replay reviews and other items intended to reduce downtime during games.

The Eagles proposed four rules changes, including abolishing the leaping techniques that league football operations director Troy Vincent said Thursday "don't belong in the game."

Seattle and Buffalo co-authored a proposal allowing a coach to challenge any officiating decision, whether a foul is called or not.

"That is a significant change to our current replay rule and it is something that will be on the floor and will be debated next week," NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino said.

Another major change would be the reduction of overtime in-season; the extra period in the playoffs would remain at 15 minutes. The powerful competition committee, of which Vincent and Blandino are members, believed it's a player safety issue, noting that number of snaps for games going to OT - especially deep into the overtime - is excessive. Especially if a team has a quick turnaround.

"We don't know where a team is going to be playing the next week, it could be four days later," said committee chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons. "We felt we should put an end to it. We don't think it will lead to more ties. Could it? It could, but we are not concerned with that."

As for changing the format of overtime to ensure both teams always get a possession - a popular topic after how the Super Bowl ended - Blandino said the league's wants to keep the element of sudden death in the extra period.

The "leaper rule" has taken some priority among competition committee members, the players' union and coaches. Vincent said coaches have begun scheming how to defense it, which can "create a real safety issue."

"It is really in the best interest of the game" to outlaw leaping on kicks," Vincent added.

McKay noted that the NCAA is in the process of passing a similar ban on the technique.

During the meetings that run from Sunday to Wednesday, the teams will be shown plays the competition committee believes should result in suspensions or ejections. Game officials already have had the leeway to eject players, but it rarely has happened; there were three in 2016.

"They don't happen very often, let's give the players credit," McKay said. "We have 40,000 plays in a year. We'll show a tape that will have four or five plays that would warrant suspension. This is not a widespread situation."

Added Vincent, a former NFL defensive back: "When you see the plays, they are catastrophic. We had two players who did not return for the season. They are high-impact plays that belong out of the game. It will be a real point of emphasis this season."