Plotting out 49ers path to No. 1 seed in NFL playoffs after Week 16

The Niners' loss to the Ravens on Christmas dropped them from the No. 1 seed in the NFC to the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) and quarterback Brock Purdy (13)
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) and quarterback Brock Purdy (13) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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The 49ers lost to the Ravens in Week 16, but they still retain the No. 1 seed in the NFC and could clinch it as soon as Sunday.

The San Francisco 49ers finished 4-1 over the "bird gauntlet" stretch of their 2023 schedule, which isn't bad considering it included another sweep of the Seattle Seahawks and a road demolishing of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Yet the Niners' Christmas Day loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football leaves a bit of a stain late in the year, one which sends head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad to an 11-4 record.

Fortunately, the loss did nothing to San Francisco's current hold on the top seed in the NFC playoff picture, although it did make the margin for error that much slimmer with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

NFC playoff picture after Week 16

The 49ers still hold the top spot despite the loss, although there's a crowd of 11-4 teams all vying to get that No. 1 seed, which comes with a first-round bye during the Wild Card round of the playoffs and home-field advantage until the Super Bowl.

Here are the seven teams currently seeded:

  1. San Francisco 49ers (11-4)*+
  2. Detroit Lions (11-4)*+
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (11-4)*
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (10-5)*
  6. Los Angeles Rams (8-7)
  7. Seattle Seahawks (8-7)

*clinched a playoff spot; +clinched division

There are only three other teams -- the Lions, Eagles and Cowboys -- who can threaten the Niners' grasp on the No. 1 seed.

San Francisco holds the tiebreaker over both Dallas and Philly from previous regular-season wins, and the 49ers have a better conference record than Detroit, should those two teams finish with identical records, too.

Let's see how the Niners can clinch the top spot in the NFC this weekend.