NFL power rankings: 49ers leap back into Top 3


NFL power rankings: 49ers leap back into Top 3

New England's tour de force against Houston on Monday Night Football gave us a new No. 1 atop the weekly power rankings and Cam Newton's show as an icon and entertainer versus Atlanta provided further shakeup at the top. Three weeks remain in the regular season and jockeying for playoff positions is getting fierce…

1 (4) New England Patriots (10-3) Death, taxes and Tom Brady looking unbeatable in December. Some things never change.
2 (3)  Denver Broncos (10-3) For all of the talk about Peyton Manning, the defense has yet to allow a 300-yard passing game.
3 (5) 49ers (9-3-1) Can Kaepernick join  Morton, Bradshaw, Ferragamo, Plunkett, Hostetler, Dilfer, Brady and Delhomme, QBs who started season on bench but took team to Super Bowl?
4 (1) Houston Texans (11-2) Too trite to write, "Houston, you have a problem" here? Meh…
5 (2) Atlanta Falcons (11-2) Players can’t go Rodney Dangerfield route this week and complain about a lack of respect.
6 (6) Green Bay Packers (9-4) Aaron Rodgers' 35-game streak with a TD pass in a home game comes to an end…in a win.
7 (7) Indianapolis Colts (9-4) With 3,759 yards passing, Andrew Luck passes Peyton Manning for No. 2 on NFL's single-season rookie list. Up next: Cam Newton's 4,051 yards.
8 (9) New York Giants (8-5) David Wilson's franchise-record 327 all-purpose yards fourth-most in NFL since 2000.
9 (11) Seattle Seahawks (8-5) The 58-0 blowout of Arizona is third-largest shutout victory in NFL since 1941.
10 (8) Baltimore Ravens (9-4) The last time they played a game without both Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs? Try Dec. 29, 2002.
11 (15) St. Louis Rams (6-6-1) Three of Sam Bradford's four career fourth-quarter comebacks have come this year, and Rams have won three straight for first time since 2006.
12 (17) Washington (7-6) RG III's passer rating of 134.7 over last four games highest by rookie QB over such a stretch since 1960.
13 (18) Minnesota Vikings (7-6) Adrian Peterson 506 rushing yards away from eclipsing Eric Dickerson's single-season record.
14 (19) Dallas Cowboys (7-6) Rafael Septien, Dan Bailey is on your tail. Bailey's sixth career game-winning FG is one less than Septien.
15 (10) Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) Sophomore slump? Andy Dalton with two TDs and three INTs in last two games after having nine TDs and no INTs in previous three games.
16 (12) Chicago Bears (8-5) Brandon Marshall's fourth 100-catch season ties him with Rice, Harrison and Welker for most in NFL history.
17 (13) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) Plaxico Burress. Remember him?
18 (14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) Buc's mid-season four-game winning streak about to be undone with three straight losses, and counting.
19 (16) New Orleans Saints (5-8) Half of Drew Brees' uncaptain-like NFC-leading 18 INTs have come in last three games.
20 (20) New York Jets (6-7) Don't look now, but the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets have won three of four.
21 (23) Cleveland Browns (5-8) "Ordinary" Trent Richardson ties Jim Brown's franchise rookie record with ninth rushing TD.
22 (21) Miami Dolphins (5-8) Two of Reggie Bush's three 100-yards-from-scrimmage games have come against the Bay Area teams.
23 (22) Buffalo Bills (5-8) Up next, a "home" game in that football Mecca known as…Toronto?!?
24 (26) San Diego Chargers  (5-8) Zombie Apocalypse Redux. Or, how Norv Turner won't go away.
25 (28) Carolina Panthers (4-9) Looks like Cam Newton received good advice in his suggestion box as he is first QB in NFL history with 250 yards passing, a passing TD, 100 yards rushing, and a rushing TD.
26 (29) Philadelphia Eaglers (4-9) So now the Eagles have won a game more recently than the Phillies. And they can thank Nick Foles for that.
27 (24) Tennessee Titans (4-9) Chris Johnson is eighth player to begin career with five 1,000-yard rushing seasons. 
28 (25) Detroit Lions (4-9) The last time the Lions defeated the Packers in Green Bay? Erik Kramer was the QB and Barry Sanders was the RB, way back on Dec. 15, 1991.
29 (27) Arizona Cardinals (4-9) Shockingly, or not, Larry Fitzgerald has caught just one pass four times this season.
30 (30) Raiders (3-10) What would YOU give up in a trade for Darren McFadden and/or Rolando McClain?
31 (31) Kansas City Chiefs (2-11) Maybe Romeo Crennel won't forget about Jamaal Charles this time around against the Raiders?
32 (32) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) At least Chad Henne is consistent. He's thrown an INT in all three starts this season.

Raiders prepped for two-game road trip, extended stay in Sunshine State

Raiders prepped for two-game road trip, extended stay in Sunshine State

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Charter buses and cargo trucks lined the back parking lot at the Raiders facility on Friday, ready to load up for a long time gone.

They were prepped to transport players, personnel and a week’s worth of supplies to an airplane set to cross the country.

The Raiders weren’t headed for a quick trip to play Jacksonville on Sunday. They’re staying in central Florida between Sunday’s game against the host Jaguars and a game at Tampa Bay to avoid travelling coast to coast in consecutive weeks.

They’ll be tucked away at a swanky Sarasota, Fla., resort devising a way to beat the Buccaneers, while practicing 20 miles north at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

Head coach Jack Del Rio doesn’t want his team thinking about the 10-day trip as a whole quite yet. He wants it compartmentalized, with complete focus on beating the Jaguars above all else.

“The biggest thing for us is to kind of take it as it comes,” Del Rio said. “And, the first order of business is traveling well Friday, for our game Sunday. And then, what changes then is that rather than flying back, then we transition into instead of going back and forth, what we’re going to do down there.

“Right now, the focus is really just on Jacksonville, the talent they have, the things they like. We’re really dialing in our preparation that way. Then, once we get to Sunday and the game’s over, then we’ll transition into the following week.”

The Raiders players and football personnel – some business officials will head back home -- will take a short flight from Jacksonville to Sarasota on Sunday night to start the next game’s prep.

It keeps the Raiders on the road but takes away most of the travel, streamlining a process the Raiders have down pat. They’ve been excellent on the road this season, with three wins in as many trips.

The Raiders have done well in hostile environments because everything they do, from eating to sleeping to actual prep on the road is done with victory in mind. Players come in confident and typically leave with a win. They have a 7-4 road record under Del Rio, a mark they’d like to improve during this Florida two-step.

“We’ve been able to travel well and play well and we look forward to the next opportunity,” Del Rio said. “Regardless of where we’re playing, we expect to play well.”

Being away so long may have its advantages, creating an in-season summit for players and coaches. Proceedings will have a training camp feel, with guys together most of the week focused on football. That could provide growth in all aspects, especially with a defense that has not played well together.

“I think it’s going to be a really good thing,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “Just to be out somewhere different with everybody. Obviously, some peoples’ families will be there and those kind of things which is a must. You have to have your family. My family will be there, we’ll be together. But when you get those times at the hotel to be around each other to eat every meal together, do those things, I think it’s nothing but good things. Whenever you can spend as much time around each other as possible, I think it’s really good.”

Some families will make the trip. The Raiders also have several players from the Florida and neighboring with friends and family coming in for these important games. During the week, however, the focus will be on football. 

Playing consecutive games against teams from the Sunshine State is no fluke. The Raiders requested this sequence in order to alleviate some travel burden on a West Coast team forced to play at least two time zones away seven times this season.

It’s a relatively trendy concept a few teams have used over the years. The Baltimore Ravens stayed in the Bay Area last year and practiced at San Jose State between games against Denver and the Raiders. The Atlanta Falcons did so this season, staying out west between games against Denver and Seattle.

The Raiders could’ve done so twice – consecutive games at Tennessee and Baltimore provided another option – but didn’t want to put strain on young families.

They’ll try and keep things close to a typical game week, so the players feel comfortable in new elements. The football operations staff, lead by coordinator Tom Jones, is bringing the technology required for meetings and film study. The equipment staff, led by manager Bob Romanski, in particular must load up for a long haul and get ready for two games and four other days of practice.

It’s no easy task taking this show on the road, but the Raiders believe it’ll help in the middle of an arduous season and travel slate.

"There’s a lot of work behind the scenes,” Del Rio said. “…For us as players and coaches, it’s going to be very seamless. Basically football preparation as we know it, just doing it in a different environment.”

49ers promote RB to active roster ahead of game vs Bucs

49ers promote RB to active roster ahead of game vs Bucs

The 49ers on Saturday promoted running back DuJuan Harris to the active roster to be eligible to play Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium.

The team waived defensive lineman Taylor Hart to make room for Harris on the 53-man roster. Hart, originally a fifth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, was claimed by the 49ers off waivers on Sept. 5. He appeared in one game and recorded two tackles.

Running back Carlos Hyde has been ruled out of Sunday’s game due to a right shoulder injury. Mike Davis and Shaun Draughn have served as the 49ers’ backup running backs through the first six games of the season.

Harris (5 foot 7, 206 pounds) has bounced between the 49ers’ 53-man roster and practice squad this season. He has yet to appear in a game. Last season, he played in two games, rushing for 140 yards on 27 carries. He also caught nine passes for 97 yards.

Draughn and Davis are the 49ers’ fourth- and fifth-leading rushers this season behind Hyde and quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick. Draughn has 55 yards rushing on 18 attempts, while Davis has 18 yards on 10 carries.