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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

November 26, 2014 at 7:33 AM

Seahawks move up in national media power rankings, but guess who’s right behind?

The Seahawks made a major move in most NFL power rankings after their convincing 19-3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, but guess who’s right over their shoulder?

How fitting. As the Seahawks and 49ers enter their Thanksgiving showdown, the bitter NFC West rivals are in lock-step with each other.

Seattle ranks a little ahead of San Francisco in most NFL power rankings by national media and major newspapers this week – with one major exception. The Arizona Republic/AZCentral.com has the 49ers four spots ahead of the No. 10 Seahawks. In the rankings I found, the Seahawks were as high as No. 4  and as low as No. 10. The Niners rated as high as No. 6 and as low as No. 14.

Regardless, most are predicting a close, physical game, with the outcome going a long way in determining who earns the NFC wild card.

The Patriots and Packers, who also meet in Week 13, are ranked first and second in nearly every list I found.

Here is a roundup of NFL power rankings entering Week 13, with comments for both the Seahawks and the 49ers.\


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 7 (up 3), no, the 2014 Seahawks are not as good as the ’13 Seahawks, but in the way that leftover Thanksgiving turkey is not as good as the original. In other words, it’s still a pretty solid option.

The most positive sign of life from this year’s Seattle team? It has forced 10 turnovers in its past five games. Last season, the Seahawks led the league with 39 takeaways; that recent spurt puts them at 15 in ’14.

49ers ranking/comment: No. 9 (down 1), when was the last time the 49ers played really well? I’m talking, like, Super Bowl threat-level. Week 5 against Kansas City? The last three quarters of Week 6 vs. St. Louis? And yet, here they sit at 7-4, with two games left against Seattle and one against Arizona. It’s all there for the taking if San Francisco can flip the switch.

Top 10: No. 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Cardinals; 4, Broncos; 5, Eagles; 6, Cowboys; 7, Seahawks; 8, Bengals; 9, 49ers; 10, Chiefs.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 7 (up 4), Russell Wilson was 11-of-13 for 153 yards against at least five pass-rushers Sunday. He was 5-of-14 against the Cardinals’ blitz in the Seahawks’ home loss to Arizona last season.

49ers ranking/comment: No. 9 (up 1), Anquan Boldin had nine catches for 137 yards and a touchdown Sunday, his first 100-yard game of the season. The 34-year-old is ninth in the league in receptions (65).

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Broncos; 4, Cardinals; 5, Cowboys; 6, Eagles; 7, Seahawks; 8, Colts; 9, 49ers; 10, Bengals.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 8 (up 2), The offense still isn’t clicking, but that defense came alive against the Cardinals. Now comes the big one at San Francisco Thursday night.

49ers ranking/comment: No. 9 (up 2), It wasn’t pretty against the Redskins, and if they play that way against Seattle this week, it won’t be good enough. Colin Kaepernick needs to pick it up.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Cardinals; 4, Cowboys; 5, Broncos; 6, Eagles; 7, Bengals; 8, Seahawks; 9, 49ers; 10, Colts.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 9 (up 1), While it’s still worrisome that Seattle’s offense relies so much on Russell Wilson‘s legs (over 70 yards rushing for the third straight week), that was a huge win Sunday. Is it fair to say the bully is back, Seahawks fans? Or is that too fair weather?

49ers ranking/comment: No. 13 (same), So is it stating the obvious to say it’s obvious Aldon Smith makes a real difference in the lineup? Couldn’t help but notice that Jim(Harbaugh gave Colin Kaepernick a huge vote of confidence postgame. Ironic, considering Harbaugh’s adversary Sunday, Jay Gruden, did anything but that for his quarterback in the days leading up to the game. Gruden, unlike Harbaugh — who has reportedly worn out his welcome with some players — aired out his quarterback. Robert Griffin III did not respond well on the field. Niner fans aren’t complaining.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Broncos; 4, Cardinals; 5, Cowboys; 6, Eagles; 7, Colts; 8, Chiefs; 9, Seahawks; 10,  Bengals.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 7 (up 4), look who’s leading the NFL in total defense again after they shot down the Cards. D must maintain momentum to get back to playoffs.

49ers ranking; comment: No. 9 (even), LB Aldon Smith already appears back in the saddle and now has 44 career sacks in 45 games after Sunday’s pair of takedowns.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Broncos; 4, Cardinals; 5, Cowboys; 6, Colts; 7, Seahawks; 8, Eagles; 9, 49ers; 10, Bengals.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No . 8 (up 1), for either the Seahawks or 49ers to really get to where they want to go, they’ll probably have to sweep the other. That’s what makes this Thanksgiving matchup so good.

49ers ranking; comment: No. 12 (up 1), I’m not sure there has been a tougher receiver than Anquan Boldin, ever. Maybe Hines Ward. Maybe. Definitely haven’t seen another receiver get hit as hard as Boldin was by Ryan Clark, have the defensive player get an unnecessary roughness penalty, and the receiver runs off while the safety is injured. Incredible play.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Cardinals; 4, Broncos; 5, Eagles; 6, Colts; 7, Cowboys; 8, Seahawks; 9, Chiefs; 10, Ravens.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 6 (up 5), the Seahawks are beginning to patch up some of their key issues on the offensive line, but their defense heads into December a notch below where it was this time of the year against both the run and pass.

49ers ranking/comment: No. 14 (down 1), the 49ers defense has been stout with Chris Borland and Aldon Smith stepping up in recent weeks, but Colin Kaepernick’s regression — in part a product of the leaky offensive line — is stunting offensive production.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Cowboys; 4, Broncos; 5, Cardinals; 6, Seahawks; 7, Eagles; 8, Colts; 9, Ravens; 10, Chiefs.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 4 up 2), in all likelihood, only one of the 49ers or Seahawks is going to make the playoffs. They play each other in Week 13.

49ers ranking/comment: No. 11 (same),  the Anquan Boldin trade was a steal.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Broncos; 4, Seahawks; 5, Cardinals; 6, Eagles; 7, Colts; 8, Cowboys; 9, Chiefs; 10, Ravens.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 10 (up 5), The defending champs aren’t done yet, as their triumph Sunday over the Cardinals demonstrated. If they’re able to flip a switch and start playing now like they were expected to play all season, the Seahawks still can accomplish big things. They play at San Francisco on Thanksgiving night and then face the Eagles, the 49ers again and the Cardinals again in their first three December games.

49ers ranking/comment: No. 13 (up 3), The 49ers weren’t particularly sharp Sunday and were fortunate to be playing an opponent, in the Redskins, incapable of taking advantage of that. The Niners will have to be far better if they expect to beat the Seahawks on Thanksgiving night in a showdown that could determine which remains in the running to challenge the Cardinals in the NFC West.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Broncos; 4, Colts; 5, Cowboys; 6, Cardinals; 7, Eagles; 8, Cardinals; 9, Steelers; 10, Seahawks.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 10 (up 2), Seahawks earn a two-spot promotion for taking care of business at home and tripping up the Cardinals. It wasn’t Seattle’s best game, but it got the job done and helped set up another ultra-important matchup coming up next – a Thursday night visit to San Francisco. The 49ers have dropped two of five at home thus far, but I think they’ll drop the Seahawks.

49ers ranking/comment: No. 6, they looked a little disinteresting in beating Washington, but the 49ers have won three in a row and can make it four Thursday when they host the Seahawks in what should be a very violent and physical game. I’ll pick the 49ers in this one.

Top 10: No. 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3,Broncos; 4, Cardinals; 5, Colts; 6, 49ers; 7, Cowboys; 8, Eagles; 9, Bengals; 10, Seahawks.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 7 (up 4), they got a convincing, 19-3, win over the Cardinals to stay in the playoff race and close the gap in the NFC West. This week’s showdown against the 49ers opens a tough four-game stretch (then at Eagles, vs. 49ers and at Cardinals).

49ers ranking/comment: No. 8 (up 1), they topped Washington, 17-13, and kept pace with the Seahawks, whom they’ll face twice in the next three weeks. The passing game started to click with Anquan Boldin (137 yards, touchdown).

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Cardinal; 3, Cowboys; 4, Packers; 5, Broncos; 6, Eagles; 7, Seahawks; 8, 49ers; 9, Colts; 10, Bengals.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 7 (up 2), they win a must-win game, face another vs. Niners

49ers ranking/comment: No. 13 (same), tnother week of fending off disaster.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Broncos; 4, Cardinals; 5, Cowboys; 6, Eagles; 7, Seahawks; 8, Lions; 9, Colts; 10, Chiefs.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 8, the NFL’s top-rated defense takes dead aim at Colin Kaepernick.

49ers ranking/comment: No. 9, Seattle’s defense might have nothing on the 49ers.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Cardinals; 3, Packers; 4, Broncos; 5, Eagles; 6, Cowboys; 7, Colts; 8, Seahawks; 9, 49ers; 10, Bengals.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 9 (up 4), the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom is finally looking like the group that won a Super Bowl last year, but Seattle’s passing game under Russell Wilson is still a huge question mark.

49ers ranking/comment: No. 13 (up 1), the Niners are great on defense but their offense has been in a rut. The Chargers are banged up, and while they’ve been magnificent at times this year, they too are inconsistent.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Eagles; 4, Cardinals; 5, Broncos; 6, Cowboys;  7, Colts; 8, Chiefs; 9, Seahawks; 10, Bengals.


Seahawks ranking/comment: No. 8, It is hard to claim that the defending champs are back to elite form just yet.

While a win over Arizona is nice, this is the same team that has stumbled three times on the road and once at home. The passing offense ranks close to dead last, and the defense sometimes struggles in the face of dynamic attacks.

The problem for Seattle is that the team is still behind in the divisional race, and road games have not exactly treated the team well this season. Should this current form hold on Thanksgiving Day against San Francisco, then the Seahawks will get a big bump.

49ers ranking/comment: No. 9, it would have been nice if the San Francisco 49ers did not need a late touchdown at home to upend Washington last week, but a three-game win streak is just that.

The concern for the 49ers at this point is the defense. Simply put, the unit is hobbled and a liability, which is something that has shined through this season in games against prolific offenses such as a 42-17 loss to Denver.

If the unit gets healthy, things will look much better. For now, the 49ers once again lean on a top rushing attack for help.

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Broncos; 4, Cowboys; 5, Cardinals; 6, Eagles; 7, Colts; 8, Seahawks; 9, 49ers; 10, Bengals.


Seahawks ranking: No. 7 (up 4)

49ers ranking: No. 9 (up 1)

Top 10: 1, Patriots; 2, Packers; 3, Broncos; 4, Cardinals; 5, Cowboys; 6, Eagles; 7, Seahawks; 8, Colts; 9, 49ers; 10, Chiefs.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. Opinions expressed are those of authors, and The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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