Power Rankings: No. 8 San Francisco 49ers

A weekly examination of the 49ers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 3 | Last Week: 5 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The San Francisco 49ers are a Power Rankings reminder to all top teams: Losses are much more damaging than victories are rewarding.

During their five-game win streak (which included a bye week), the 49ers could only move from No. 8 to No. 5. However, after a one-point loss to Carolina, all that progress was wiped out. The 49ers are back to No. 8 again, where they were in Week 5 when they were 2-2.

I think some context is needed. It was a one-point defeat to a Carolina team that has won five straight games. It is not a devastating loss for the 49ers. They are still on track for the playoffs, although they very likely are out of the NFC West race as they trail Seattle by 2.5 games.

Still, the 49ers’ overall health is much better than a three-spot drop may indicate.