Power Rankings: No. 17 San Francisco 49ers

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

Rank: 17| Last Week: 16

Comment: The 49ers have never been in this situation under Jim Harbaugh, that is, left to merely play out the string. Eliminated from the playoff race with two games remaining, the Niners (7-7) dropped another spot in our power rankings to a season-low of No. 17. They’ve lost three straight games for the first time in the Harbaugh Era and are left to play spoiler to the likes of the San Diego Chargers on Saturday and the Arizona Cardinals in the season finale. So what, exactly, is left for a preseason Super Bowl contender to play for with little but pride to gain? “We’re going to play these next two games like our lives depend on it,” Harbaugh said. “So yeah, playing for a winning season, playing for each other, playing for the team, playing for the honor of the game...the biggest thing is the things that I mentioned – playing this game and win this game. There’s a lot at stake. That’s the way we approach it.” Just don’t ask Harbaugh, who is seemingly a lame duck, how the support he has received from players feels. “I’d rather talk about how proud I am of them in the ball game,” he said. “I know it’s been a lot of [speculation], and it may be taking away from them and the way they play. Hate to keep contributing to that.”