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NFL Power Rankings: 49ers Enter NFL Playoffs as Top Team in the NFC

The San Francisco 49ers are one of two teams in the playoff picture that will not be playing during Super Wild Card Weekend. With the NFC's No. 1 seed secured in Week 17, the 49ers regular season finale versus the Los Angeles Rams didn't have the same high stakes atmosphere of past meetings for either team involved. San Francisco opted to rest starting quarterback Brock Purdy and had most healthy starters on snap counts, while the Rams sidelined quarterback Matthew Stafford and a slew of veteran playmakers. Los Angeles made out with the narrow, one-point victory to close out 2023, and after sitting on their postseason fate for the last week, the 49ers are now able to focus all their attention on the NFL Playoffs.

National outlets didn't put much weight on San Francisco's Week 18 game as their position in the latest NFL power rankings remains unchanged from last week. As they await the results of Super Wild Card Weekend to determine their next opponent, the 49ers can go confidently into the Bye week as the top-ranked team in the NFC.

Let's take a look at what national outlets had to say about the 49ers headed into the Bye week:

Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm

"It was a Sam Darnold game on Sunday, as Brock Purdy got some much-needed rest, with the NFC West title and No. 1 playoff seed all sewn up. Darnold looked pretty good, just as he did when relieving Purdy in the Week 16 loss to the Ravens, so the 49ers have to feel much better about their QB2 situation heading into the postseason than they did one year ago at this time... It was also good to see Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason turn in solid games against the Rams, building on their positive late-season showings. The 49ers know they must protect their best commodities, and Christian McCaffrey is going to be leaned on heavily in the playoffs, however long their stay is. As with Darnold and the QB position, Mitchell and Mason showed they could provide enough insurance at running back, even if neither can replicate what CMC does."

NFL Writer Pete Prisco

"They get a Bye as the NFC's best team and clearly have the look of a Super Bowl team. They will be tough to beat at home."

NFL Writer Mike Florio

"Can anyone in the NFC beat them in Santa Clara?"

NFL Writer David Helman

"It's surprising to look up and realize the Niners finished with 'only' 12 wins, but that's the benefit of locking up the No. 1 seed a week early. As entertaining as the NFC Playoff field looks right now, it's easy to pick San Francisco as the team to beat, with home-field advantage secured."

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