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NFL Power Rankings: 49ers Make Playoff Debut as No. 2 Team

The San Francisco 49ers enter the NFC Divisional Round rested after a low stakes regular season finale and a first round Bye they earned by clinching the NFC's top seed. While 12 other playoff teams battled it out this weekend, the 49ers and the AFC's No. 1 seed, the Baltimore Ravens, got to sit out of Super Wild Card Weekend and await their next opponent.

For San Francisco, the wait really wasn't all that long with the seventh-seeded Green Bay Packers 48-32 upset of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC's matinee game on Sunday. The 49ers are set to host the Packers on Saturday night at Levi's® Stadium which will be the the first Bay Area playoff meeting between these two teams since the NFC Championship Game of the 2019 season.

As for Bye week developments on the 49ers side, the most significant is the return of defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who has not played in a game since San Francisco's Week 13 clash with the Philadelphia Eagles. Armstead remains a critical component to the 49ers run defense alongside fellow D-lineman Javon Hargrave. Rookie safety Ji'Ayir Brown, cornerback Ambry Thomas and wide receiver Jauan Jennings also rejoined team practices last week and safety George Odum has his 21-day practice window opened.

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

Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm

"Like the Ravens, Brock Purdy and the 49ers head into the Divisional Round with a ton of confidence. But the Packers roll into Santa Clara as one of the league's hottest teams, and it's worth noting that the 49ers were stomped twice -- by the Bengals and Ravens -- in their house. We still have a few questions. Can the pass protection hold up? The Packers sacked Dak Prescott four times and have 13 total sacks in their past three games, while the 49ers are still tinkering with their offensive line. Can they cover all of Green Bay's weapons? Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir have been mostly great outside, but Packers rookie Jayden Reed could cause them problems out of the slot. I think San Francisco is a better team overall, but I am not discounting the upset possibility one bit. Kyle Shanahan's 2021 49ers barely made the playoffs, but they won at Dallas to earn a shot at top-seeded Green Bay at Lambeau Field and squeaked past the Packers, 13-10, in a shocker. Two years later, the scenario has been flipped on its head. Will Matt LaFleur exact revenge here? The Niners must be prepared for an aerial assault Saturday night."

NFL Writer David Helman

"I'm a big fan of the narrative flip heading into the Niners' postseason debut. Typically, it's been the Packers playing with high expectations when they face San Francisco in the playoffs, only to have a 13-win season ruined. This time around, Green Bay is the underdog trying to spoil San Francisco's run. How will this team handle the weight of expectations this time around?"

Arizona Republic Writer Jeremy Cluff

"Did the 49ers catch a break with the Packers upsetting the Cowboys? We're not so sure. Green Bay is playing very well and could give San Francisco a very tough test in the NFC Divisional Round."

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