Believe it or not, we are just one day away from the start of the 2013 NFL season, and everyone is amped and ready to see how their team will fare.
Some teams have high expectations, while others are in the midst of a rebuild. That is the case here in the Bay Area, with the 49ers coming off a trip to the Super Bowl and the Raiders attempting to change their identity with a flurry of offseason moves.
ESPN’s newly-released power rankings reflect these differences, ranking the 49ers third in the league, and the Raiders 31st, or second to last, just ahead of the floundering Jets.
The 49ers actually dropped a spot from last week, allowing the Falcons to climb into second. Nonetheless, there is no question that they are among the league’s elite.
“No Michael Crabtree hurts, but Anquan Boldin and rookie Quinton Patton look ready,” writes the ESPN panel of John Clayton, Ashley Fox, Dan Graziano, Jamison Hensley, Mike Sando and Kevin Seifert. “As for the defense, rookie Eric Reid, Glenn Dorsey and Nnamdi Asomugha join an already fearsome unit.”
And you can never forget Colin Kaepernick, who is looking to breakout into the superstar that the media has portrayed him as, despite the fact that he’s started just 10 games in the NFl.
Across the bay, the Raiders dropped a couple spots down to 31st, with the Bills and Jaguars jumping ahead of them.
“The Raiders’ defense had a league-low 12 sacks with four or fewer rushers last season,” say ESPN. “That’s just one problem of many on both sides of the ball.”
The Raiders have question marks at nearly every position — offensive line, wide receivers, health of running back — and we haven’t even talked about Terrelle Pryor yet, who will reportedly be the Week 1 starter for the Silver and Black.
The good news is that the Raiders’ rebuild has to start somewhere. They have a new roster, with their quarterback of the future under center. It may be hard for this team to stay patient, especially since they’re mired in a decade of mediocrity, but the only virtue they can practice at this point is patience and hope for a better future.