Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The 49ers closed 2010 as an absolute mess. Probably more so than the Browns off the field and less so on it, but nevertheless, things were bad in the Bay Area when 2010 came to a close.
San Francisco has landed two spots above the Browns in the power rankings at No. 26, which, as in the case of the Broncos, seems slightly inaccurate relative to Cleveland's position but in the correct ballpark.
Defensively, you can't really argue with the ranking, at least at this point, and as for the offense—well, that may depend on who wins the QB job in San Francisco. At the moment, no one seems to be able to say for certain whether the oft-troubled Alex Smith or the rookie Colin Kaepernick will wind up with the job.
Whatever you think of Colt McCoy, it should be tough for even his greatest doubters to argue that he falls behind either Smith or the unknown Kaepernick in terms of how he stacks up as a QB. Not to mention the fact that he has the job nailed down, whereas the 49ers are setting themselves up for a quarterback controversy heading into the season.
What evens things out a bit between the two teams might be that the situation with Frank Gore in San Francisco has been resolved. If these rankings had been completed during Gore's four-day holdout, the Browns (and the Broncos, for that matter) could very well have edged out San Francisco. But with Gore now in camp and looking no worse for having missed a few days, the Niners ground game levels the playing field.
One other thing to consider: While this isn't really supposed to factor into power rankings strictly speaking, the 49ers play in a much less competitive division than the Browns. While this shouldn't affect the basic tenets of a power ranking, it does allow San Francisco a potential edge in the number of games they have a legitimate shot to win.