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CBSSports.com Senior NFL Columnist

Power Rankings: Bay Area is back to just winning, baby

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The Bay Area has NFL winners.

Can it be?

The San Francisco 49ers are 4-1 and atop the NFC West and the Oakland Raiders are 3-2 and in second in the AFC West.

Both teams have impressed in the first five weeks. The Raiders have had their moments of playing poorly, but the team has talent and Hue Jackson is doing a good job in his first season as coach. I thought they had a chance to be a playoff team -- even picking them to do so.

I didn't think that of the 49ers. But in a division with three teams not playing well, the 49ers are the heavy favorites now to win the division.

Jim Harbaugh, also in his first year, is a former NFL quarterback known for his fiery ways and his ability to get the best out of those who play the quarterback position for him.

At the University of San Diego, it was Josh Johnson, now the backup in Tampa. At Stanford, he had Andrew Luck. Both were super-talented for their level of competition.

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Now he's working wonders with Alex Smith, the former top overall pick who had been considered a bust in some circles. Smith is third in the NFL in passer rating at 104.1. The two guys in front of him: Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Smith has also thrown seven touchdowns and just one interception.

The 49ers are up to 13th in the CBSSports.com Power Rankings with Oakland right behind them at 14.

It's early, but the Bay Area is seeing resurgence in NFL football.

It's still a far cry from the glory days of the Raiders or the Joe Montana-Steve Young 49ers, but after some lean years both franchises and certainly the area will take it.

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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