The Raiders’ 28-27 road victory against the previously unbeaten Ravens vaulted them into an average ranking of 9.6 in the five polls sampled here (ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, CBS Sports, The Associated Press), easily the best this week among the state’s four NFL teams.
However, the Rams made the biggest gain of any California team with an average climb of 7.8 spots and averaged a 12.6 ranking. It’s safe to say their 17-13 at the Cardinals resonated with the pollsters.
The Chargers climbed three spots in USA Today’s ranking despite their second-half home collapse to the previous winless Saints in a 35-34 loss. San Diego will bring an average ranking of 24.2 into Week 5. The Chargers have this week’s distinction of being the state’s most difficult team to figure out. Their Hi/Low mark of 21/30 features the widest discrepancy of the four teams.
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The 49ers, losers of three in a row, have an average ranking of 29.4 following their 24-17 home loss to the Cowboys. It’s not going to be easy for the 49ers to make much headway in a different direction, with the season-ending Achilles’ injury suffered by defensive leader NaVorro Bowman in Sunday’s loss.
Sorting the data:
Average rank: 9.6
Average change: +5.6
From ESPN (No. 9): “The Raiders sit 3-1 through four games and you can’t blame Raider Nation for being excited. The Raiders haven’t been 3-1 or better through four games since the 2002 season, which also happens to be their last Super Bowl appearance.”
Average rank: 12.6
Average change: +7.8
From USA Today (No. 10): “If their two best players – RB Todd Gurley and DT Aaron Donald, both of whom command constant gameplanning from foes – get going, watch out.”
Average rank: 24.4
Average change: -1.2
From CBS Sports (No. 21): “They’ve blown two 13-point fourth-quarter leads in two games. That’s tough to take.”
Average rank: 29.4
Average change: -1.4
From ESPN (No. 29): “Blaine Gabbert has some speed, but is it the best idea to have him run so much? His 29 rushes this season are tied for most in the NFL with Cam Newton, but Gabbert is averaging only 3.5 yards per rush.”
Compiled by Jeff Caraska