NFL Power Rankings: 49ers, Eagles and Sunday's Biggest Statement Wins

Travis Hunter@@t_hunter_yeahCorrespondent IIOctober 17, 2011

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers drops back for a pass during a NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  The 49ers won 25-19 (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Three teams got statement wins Sunday that will see them rise up the power rankings by leaps and bounds.

49ers Get Win in Detroit

You could argue that the 49ers actually made their statement last week when they romped over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a 48-3 margin. But the Niners have been down in the dumps for so long that even a win that big wasn't enough to convince us they could be anything more than the NFC West's playoff-team-by-default.

But Sunday's win at Ford Field may do the trick. The Lions are seriously talented and their fans are seriously fired up. The domed-in Detroit noise has played havoc with visiting offenses this year. Sunday's game wasn't the most elegant thing in the world, but between solid D, Frank Gore's consistent production and Alex Smith's ability to make the big plays when he needed them (did I really just type that?), Jim Harbaugh's boys were able to win a hard-hitting game and announce themselves as real factors in the NFL.

Eagles Keep Season Alive, Leave 'Skins in Disarray

Everyone's favorite Dream Team hasn't reached mathematical must-win status yet, but a division loss to Washington on Sunday would have dropped them to 1-5 and essentially relegated them to the non-playoff section of the power rankings for the rest of the year.

Instead, they got a much-needed win and harassed Redskins QB Rex Grossman so badly—picking him off four times—that Mike Shanahan turned to backup John Beck. While Washington still sits ahead of Philly in the rankings, a controversy between two lousy QBs does not bode well for their future.

Philly was able to keep their season alive while throwing a main rival's into disarray—pritt-ay nice Sunday's worth of work.

Bucs Rebound from Beatdown, Top Saints

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the recipient of the 48-3 beating doled out last week by our first statement team, the San Francisco 49ers. Many tabbed the up-and-coming Bucs as contenders to watch heading into the season, but last week's beating left us wondering if they had been reading too much of their own hype—and if they could recover from such a whipping.

Waiting for them back home were the New Orleans Saints, the proverbial big brothers of the NFC South and owners of a four-game winning streak. But the Bucs were ready. Hyped young QB Josh Freeman posted a 300-yard day and backup RB Earnest Graham ran for 109 yards in place of injured starter LeGarrette Blount.

After Tampa bounced back and the Atlanta Falcons got their own much-needed win, the tightly contested race we all expected in the NFC South looks like it might happen after all.

Power Rankings

1. Green Bay Packers

2. New England Patriots

3. Baltimore Ravens

4. San Francisco 49ers

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

6. New Orleans Saints

7. Detroit Lions

8. New York Giants

9. Buffalo Bills

10. San Diego Chargers

11. Pittsburgh Steelers

12. Atlanta Falcons

13. Houston Texans

14. Philadelphia Eagles

15. Oakland Raiders

16. Chicago Bears

17. Tennessee Titans

18. Dallas Cowboys

19. Cincinnati Bengals

20. Washington Redskins

21. New York Jets

22. Carolina Panthers

23. Cleveland Browns

24. Seattle Seahawks

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

26. Arizona Cardinals

27. Kansas City Chiefs

28. Denver Broncos

29. Minnesota Vikings

30. Miami Dolphins

31. Indianapolis Colts

32. St. Louis Rams


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