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NFC Playoff Picture: The Niners are creeping closer toward the No. 1 seed

Seeding aside, it’s evident who the top dog in the conference is

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

If the 49ers want a chance at the No. 1 seed in the NFC, they have to keep winning. It feels like it’ll take the Niners winning out to obtain the coveted bye week. They’ll have to control what they can control.

Through 13 weeks of the season, here’s how the NFC standings shake out:

Divisional leaders

1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-2)

2. San Francisco 49ers (9-3, 7-1 NFC)

3. Detroit Lions (9-3, 6-2 NFC)

4. Atlanta Falcons (6-6)

Wild Card

5. Dallas Cowboys (9-3)

6. Minnesota Vikings* (6-6)

7. Green Bay Packers* (6-6)

Very much in the hunt

8. Los Angeles Rams* (6-6)

9. Seattle Seahawks* (6-6)

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7, win over NO)

11. New Orleans Saints (5-7, loss to TB)

There’s always next year

12. New York Giants (4-8, 3-4 NFC)

13. Chicago Bears (4-8, 3-5 NFC)

14. Washington Commanders (4-9)

15. Arizona Cardinals (3-10)

16. Carolina Panthers (1-11)

First, let’s deal with the asterisks as there are multi-team tiebreakers. The first tiebreaker is divisional. So for Green Bay and Minnesota, the Vikings have a head-to-head win over the Packers, so Green Bay would hold the tiebreaker as of today in that scenario.

As for Los Angeles and Seattle, the Rams swept the Seahawks this year, so that will be costly for Seattle. That’s why they’re eighth and Seattle is ninth.

Now if we go to the Rams and the Vikings, Minnesota has a leg up on Los Angeles as Kevin O’Connell’s crew has the better conference record, which is why they sit at sixth.

The reason Green Bay is in the seventh seed is because they beat the Rams head-to-head.

Jordan Love looked like a playoff quarterback on Sunday night. Matthew Stafford has looked like one whenever he’s on the field. I still believe the Packers and Rams will wind up being the final two teams a month from now.

Atlanta is the only team in the top eight seeds with a negative point differential. Dallas would be their first round opponent, and it would not go well for the Falcons.

The 49ers have the better conference record than the Lions. And if they end up with the same number of losses as the Eagles, then the Niners are in thanks to the 42-19 victory over the Eagles in Week 13.

San Francisco needs one more loss from Philadelphia, and they’ll need it to happen in the next two weeks, more than likely. The Eagles face Dallas on Sunday Night Football in Week 14, then host the Seahawks. After that, they finish with the Giants, Cardinals, and Giants.

The 49ers don’t face the most daunting schedule, either. But the Cardinals game on the road a week after the Seahawks game and a week before Baltimore feels like a classic letdown spot.

The Ravens are the only team in the NFL who I’d put in the same class as the 49ers. That’ll be a heavyweight fight as both teams compete for the No. 1 seed in their respective conferences.

Then, it’s the Commanders, and a Rams team to finish the season that’ll need to keep winning to ensure a playoff berth.

We’ve been referencing the New York Times’ simulator for consistency. The Niners odds of obtaining the No. 1 seed went from around 19 percent to 43 percent after beating the Eagles.