The San Francisco 49ers went toe-to-toe with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and, despite the 20-17 defeat, proved they belong in the conversation when discussing the NFL's elite teams. You know, for those who still doubted their worth.

The loss sets up a crucial Week 14 NFC showdown between two 10-2 teams — the 49ers and the New Orleans Saints. If the Minnesota Vikings manage to take down the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, next weekend's 49ers-Saints bout could be for the top seed in the conference.

Of course, a Seahawks win would mean the 49ers plummet to the No. 5 seed, taking away some of the drama from next weekend's game.

Either way, 49ers-Saints is a must-win for both teams, and San Francisco is already an underdog in the matchup. The Kyle Shanahan-led squad opened as three-point underdogs on Sunday, according to several sources listed on It is the second consecutive week the 49ers find themselves as underdogs in an upcoming game.

The last time the 49ers had back-to-back games where they weren't favored to win was Weeks 1 and 2.

During Sunday's loss, the 49ers were held to 17-or-fewer points for just the second time this season. The first was another rain-soaked game — a 9-0 road win over the Washington Redskins. The Ravens, on the other hand, were held to their lowest point total of the season after averaging 35.1 points per game entering Week 13.

Meanwhile, the Saints have won three straight and nine of their last 10. They are 5-1 at home while San Francisco owns the same record while on the road.

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