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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How 49ers clinch No. 1 seed in Week 17

San Francisco visits the 4-11 Washington Commanders in Week 17, and it's safe to say the 49ers are heavy favorites, currently at 13.5 points, according to the oddsmakers at FanDuel.

If the Niners win that game, a few other outcomes could result in them clinching the No. 1 seed in the NFC, too, which would likely afford head coach Kyle Shanahan the ability to rest or limit his starters in what would essentially be a meaningless Week 18 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

San Francisco would clinch the top spot with a victory over Washington, coupled with:

  • Cowboys beat Lions
  • Cardinals beat Eagles

Dallas will be desperate in an attempt to reclaim the NFC East, and the bonus is this game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 30, giving all other teams the outcome a bit early.

While Arizona defeating Philly seems like a long shot, the 49ers can still be fans of their NFC West rivals for one weekend.

What if the Niners have to wait another week, though? And what if they somehow lose Week 17?