Power Rankings: No. 4 San Francisco 49ers

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

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

Could anything make San Francisco 49ers fans upset on Tuesday? They might even let this one slide.

The 49ers dropped one spot in the latest Power Rankings, despite enjoying one of the most exciting victories of recent memory. The 49ers closed out Week 16 with a wild 34-24 win Monday night over Atlanta in what was likely the last game at Candlestick Park.

The 49ers clinched a playoff berth with the win. They are now 11-4 and have won five straight games and 10 of the past 12. They are a model of NFL consistency.

However, they fell a spot because Carolina moved from No. 4 to No. 3 after defeating rival New Orleans. It’s difficult to argue the 49ers should be ranked higher than the Panthers, anyway. They are both 11-4, and the Panthers did beat San Francisco in November.

Still, the bottom line is the 49ers are going to the playoffs on a roll, and that’s more important than anything at this point.