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Niners clinch NFC's No. 1 seed with win over Commanders, Eagles' loss to Cardinals

San Francisco is officially the cream of the crop in the NFC.

The 49ers clinched their conference's No. 1 seed on Sunday following their 27-10 win over the Commanders and the Eagles' 35-31 upset loss to the Cardinals, assuring themselves a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout their hopeful journey to Super Bowl LVIII.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad locked up the all-important seed two weeks after sewing up the NFC West and three weeks after becoming the first team in the league to punch a playoff ticket.

"It was awesome," Shanahan said after watching the Cardinals' win over the Eagles. "I didn't want to really pay attention to it or get our hearts broke but we did right there at the end and pulled it out. It was really cool to see."

San Francisco's wave of success has been earned on both sides of the ball.

Brock Purdy has proven a perfect fit for Shanahan's system and, buoyed by a stellar supporting cast of Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, delivered a tremendous second season under center.

Christian McCaffrey has perhaps been even better as the NFL's foremost difference-maker at running back.

And the defense behind Nick Bosa and Fred Warner finds itself as a top-three scoring unit for the second straight year.

Although this is San Francisco's third consecutive season heading to the playoffs, it's the first time since 2019 that the 49ers are doing so as the NFC's top seed.

"It's huge, just in terms of our bodies being able to rest and recover," Purdy said about having the conference's No. 1 spot. "There's a lot of our guys that have given so much this whole season week in and week out. To be able to get a little break is huge. We really haven't had one since the bye week. At this part of the season, I mean every team is going through it, but for us to be able to lock up that one seed and get guys healthy going into the playoffs is huge for us. We are excited about that and to have two games in the playoffs before the big one is huge."

They reached the Super Bowl in that 2019 campaign but fell to the Chiefs, and they've seen their season end in the NFC Championship Game in the past two years.

The stage is set as well as it can be to improve on all of those results.

Whether or not the 49ers elect to rest starters in an upcoming Week 18 game that's now of little importance, they'll be all hands on deck try and do just that when their road to Las Vegas begins at home in the Divisional Round.

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