Dan Pompei's NFL power rankings

Alex Smith doubters, believe this: 49ers a force

Last week's ranking in parentheses

1. 49ers (5): People don't want to believe this team can be this good with Alex Smith at quarterback. Believe it.

2. Patriots (3): This is what you call an overpowering offense.

3. Ravens (4): Joe Flacco was ready for prime time on Monday, and there isn't much to dislike about the Ravens.

4. Packers (1): OK, so they are not unbeatable, but it is way too soon to jump off any bandwagon that Aaron Rodgers is leading.

5. Falcons (11): Losing cornerback Brent Grimes is a big blow, but this offense might be able to compensate.

6. Texans (7): They did what they were supposed to do Sunday.

7. Bears (8): Could they be better than we thought? Tough to tell off their game against the Colts.

8. Broncos (15): Any more questions about Peyton Manning now?

9. Cowboys (20): As long as the opener against the Giants wasn't their Super Bowl, the Cowboys could build some momentum.

10. Giants (2): It wouldn't be a season if the Giants didn't dig themselves a hole.

11. Steelers (6): The new offense still might be feeling its way, but this is a good football team.

12. Lions (10): They are a better team than they showed in a close call against the Rams.

13. Redskins (25): Let's wait a couple of weeks before we present them with the Lombardi Trophy.

14. Saints (12): That ringing phone you heard was Sean Payton's agent calling asking for a raise when he comes back.

15. Chiefs (9): Losing to the Falcons at home was not as disturbing as the way in which the Chiefs lost.

16. Chargers (16): Once they get Ryan Mathews going, the Chargers could be dangerous.

17. Jets (21): Bart Scott may call for a mutiny of the Tribune power poll.

18. Eagles (13): Teams that are budding dynasties should not be squeaking out wins over the likes of the Browns.

19. Bengals (14): The Bengals still may be a good team, but it already seems pretty clear they aren't the best in the AFC North.