The San Francisco 49ers put themselves in a good position for success following their 28-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks, and with a Green Bay Packers loss on "Monday Night Football," the red and gold have officially clinched a playoff berth. It should come as no surprise that the first team to punch their ticket to the postseason remains on top of the NFL power rankings for a second-straight week.
In addition to holding steady at No. 1, San Francisco has also climbed to the top of the conference standings with some help from the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas handed the Philadelphia Eagles their third loss of the season on "Sunday Night Football," and by doing so, unseated them as the NFC leaders. For now, the 49ers occupy the No. 1 seed but have very little margin for error in the final four weeks of the season if they hope to retain their favorable playoff position.
The 49ers will hit the road in Week 15 for their second-to-last NFC West matchup of the year. If San Francisco can come away with the victory, they'll lock up the division crown.
Let's take a look at what national outlets had to say about the 49ers headed into Week 15:
Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm
"The funny thing about Sunday's double-digit win over the rival Seahawks? San Francisco's offense was actually very hot and cold, looking mortal for stretches and then, BOOM! Someone just busts off a big play, and all is right in the 49ers world. Brock Purdy held everything together... In fact, all of the Niners' top playmakers put up numbers, and Purdy's 54-yard touchdown pass to Deebo Samuel should end the silly narratives around the quarterback's downfield passing ability. If there was a worry coming out of the game, it was the shape of the defense. CB Charvarius Ward (groin), DL Javon Hargrave (hamstring) and LBs Dre Greenlaw (hip) and Oren Burks (knee) all left the game, with only Greenlaw re-entering. San Francisco was already playing without DL Arik Armstead, so if you're looking for an Achilles heel on this juggernaut -- with Baltimore on tap in two weeks -- it might be this."
NFL Writer Mike Florio
"There's still a gap between them and the field, but the Ravens will have a chance to close it (or not) on Christmas night."
NFL Writer Nick Wagoner on the team's improved pass rush productivity
"The Niners racked up five sacks in Week 1 but had just 18 total sacks through their first eight games. What's more, they were generating pressure on only 26.3% of dropbacks. Since the Bye and trading for defensive end Chase Young, San Francisco has 22 sacks with a 34.9% pressure rate, which ranks first and seventh in the NFL, respectively, over the past five games. San Francisco has invested heavily in its front with the idea that it can be the focal point of the defense, and it's no surprise that the 49ers defensive resurgence has coincided with dominant play up front."
NFL Writer Pete Prisco
"They are cruising to the top seed in the NFC. It wasn't pretty to start against Seattle, but they got it going in a big way."