ESPN NFL Power Rankings
All five panelists ranked Seattle and San Francisco among their top five. Three of the five ranked Seattle first.
Of course, rankings tend to correlate with recent performance, which does not guarantee anything for the future.
The Seahawks were last ranked first in Week 1 of the 2006 season. That team was coming off a Super Bowl appearance. Those Seahawks finished 9-7 before losing an overtime game to the Chicago Bears in the divisional playoffs.
The 49ers were ranked No. 1 after winning at New England in Week 15 last season. They were third after the 2012 regular season (Seattle was fifth).
There is nothing particularly scientific about these rankings. In this case, they provide a benchmark for perceptions and can be interesting to view over time.
Perceptions do matter for the purposes of scheduling. This year, those perceptions should lead the NFL to strongly consider a nationally televised Seahawks-49ers opener. Both teams have exciting young quarterbacks, rugged running backs and punishing defenses. Both have high-profile head coaches with a competitive history. The additions of Percy Harvin and Anquan Boldin add to the appeal.