The Seattle Seahawks are still the clear favorite in leading the Associated Press power rankings, with commanding home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs there for the clinching with a couple of wins.
The San Francisco 49ers served notice, though, that they haven’t disappeared. Thus, after a grind-it-out NFC West division victory by the 49ers over the Seahawks on Sunday, the top of the NFL is a little more crowded.
After two straight weeks as a unanimous first choice by the 12-member panel of media regularly covering the league, the Seahawks (11-2) received 10 first-place votes this time. The Denver Broncos (11-2) got the other two and came in second, in results released on Tuesday.
The Seahawks lost their unmatched hold on the NFL’s best record. Only 43 points separate them from the 49ers (9-4), who were fifth.
“Still may be the most balanced team the league has to offer at the moment,” Legwold said.
A complete list of the power rankings appears in the stat sheet on page B6.
49ers sign Hawk
Ryan Seymour was standing on the visitor’s side of Candlestick Park on Sunday.
Two days later, he found himself sharing a locker room with the opponent.
The San Francisco 49ers announced they signed Seymour from the rival Seahawks’ practice squad to a three-year contract as insurance at the left guard position.
Starter Mike Iupati has missed the past three games with a sprained left knee.
Around the league
The Giants placed RB Brandon Jacobs on season-ending IR, two days after a knee injury kept him out for a second straight game. … The Titans re-signed OL Kevin Matthews and released TE Visanthe Shiancoe. … The Ravens placed WR Brandon Stokley on IR, ending his season. Stokley sustained a concussion in Sunday’s game against the Vikings. … The Browns waived QB Caleb Hanie, who backed up starter Jason Campbell on Sunday in New England. … The Cardinals placed rookie DB Tyrann Mathieu on IR. … A review of penalties through the first 11 weeks of the season finds that an average of nearly once a game, a player absorbs an illegal blow to the head or neck that could put his career at risk.