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NFL Power Rankings: 49ers Continue to Lead the League in Week 16

The San Francisco 49ers continued their late-season tear with a sixth-straight win in Week 15, putting away the Arizona Cardinals 45-29 on the road. The win over Arizona locked up the division for a second-consecutive season, another important milestone in the team's final push to the postseason. Currently positioned at the top of the conference standings and with the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles both dropping their games this week, San Francisco was gifted a bit of breathing room in Week 15, but there's little time to relax with the best team in the AFC headed to Levi's® Stadium this week. The 49ers will host the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night to round out their battle with AFC North opponents for the 2023 regular season. If San Francisco can stack another win, they'll be one step closer to solidifying the No. 1 seed in the conference.

Health will once again be the big focus for the 49ers headed into their Christmas Day matchup with two of their starting interior defensive linemen Arik Armstead (foot/knee) and Javon Hargrave (hamstring) both working through lingering injuries and new injuries coming out of the Cardinals contest to third down specialist Jauan Jennings (concussion), starting corner Deommodore Lenoir (rib contusion) and several others.

Let's take a look at what national outlets had to say about the 49ers headed into Week 15:

Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm

"It's nice to have a solid but unremarkable showing and still beat a division foe on the road by 16 -- and it easily could have been more. The 49ers locked up the NFC West and are steamrolling toward the No. 1 seed in the conference. This coming Monday's game against the Ravens will be a terrific playoff tune-up, but the 49ers had better hope that DTs Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead can return from injury because the run defense was lacking in their absence against the Cardinals. Arizona ran for more than 100 yards in each half against the 49ers, with its two longest gains in the game -- 49 and 44 yards -- coming on the ground. That's a significant part of Baltimore's formula for victory, so San Francisco has a chance to address one of the few big concerns with the team prior to the postseason."

NFL Writer Mike Florio

"The path to the No. 1 seed gets easier and easier all the time."

NFL Writer Nick Wagoner on an important statistical category led by the 49ers

"The Niners lead the NFL in plenty of important categories, but nothing matters more than the score. San Francisco is plus-191 on the year, 24 points clear of Dallas, which ranks second. What's more, the 49ers haven't just been beating up on the dregs of the NFL. They've beaten contenders like the Cowboys, Eagles and Jaguars by a combined 86 points. Were it not for a meaningless last-second field goal by the Rams in Week 2, all of the Niners' 11 wins would be by double digits."

NFL Writer Pete Prisco

"They already clinched the division, and it looks like the top seed in the conference will also be theirs. The Ravens game this week will be a physical war."

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