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NFL Power Rankings: 49ers Jockey For Top Position With the Ravens

The San Francisco 49ers clenched the NFC's No. 1 seed on Sunday following their 27-10 win over the Washington Commanders and the Arizona Cardinals 35-31 upset of the Philadelphia Eagles, and on Tuesday, found themselves once again near the top of the latest NFL power rankings. San Francisco's bounce back performance in Week 17 featured a 120-plus passer rating performance by quarterback Brock Purdy, interceptions by cornerbacks Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir and a 100-plus receiving yards outing by wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

With their playoff positioning secured, it's likely the 49ers will rest several veterans and injured starters against the Los Angeles Rams. Running back Christian McCaffrey, who suffered a mild calf strain versus the Commanders, was already ruled out by head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Let's take a look at what national outlets had to say about the 49ers headed into Week 18:

Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm

"As with the Ravens, winning the top seed early (thanks, Philly!) and the first-round bye that comes with it was a crucial development for the 49ers, given their deteriorating health, with that No. 1 designation essentially building in an additional week's lag time to get right. They've been running on fumes a bit on defense, and Christian McCaffrey could use a good spa day. He left Sunday's win over Washington with a calf injury, and the focus will be on getting him (and some other key contributors) healthy for the postseason. Can the Niners regain their dominant form? I say yes. The Week 16 loss to the Ravens conjured some of the same concerning feelings we had about San Francisco during the team's three-game losing streak in Weeks 6 through 8. That said, the Week 9 bye really did inject some life into this group. The same thing can happen with the added rest before the first playoff game at Levi's Stadium in a few weeks. If McCaffrey, both lines of scrimmage and Brock Purdy are healthy and mentally sharp, this can be a Super Bowl team, in spite of any recent setbacks."

49ers Reporter Nick Wagoner on the Biggest Contract to Watch in the Offseason

"The Niners picked up Aiyuk's fifth-year option for 2024 after rebuffing trade interest in him last offseason, which means he remains on the team for at least another year. But the 49ers preferred operating procedure has been to re-sign homegrown stars like Aiyuk before they enter the final year of their rookie deal. With the notable exception of DT DeForest Buckner, whom they traded to Indianapolis in 2020, the Niners have kept all of their foundational players, and they'd like to do the same with Aiyuk. That doesn't mean it will be easy or they won't receive interest from around the league, but there's also a path to structuring a deal for Aiyuk so his cap number spikes when other big-money deals come off the books."

NFL Writer Mike Florio

"Anyone who beats them in Santa Clara in January will have earned it."

NFL Writer David Helman

"No one in the Bay Area is going to complain about Philadelphia handing the 49ers home-field advantage a week early. Now, the Niners can focus on resting key starters like Christian McCaffrey, Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel."

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