Originally written on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/26/13
The San Francisco 49ers have been among the top defenses in the league over the past few seasons, thanks in large part to the play of middle linebacker and team leader, Patrick Willis. The Baltimore Ravens have become known for team defense thanks to the play of Ray Lewis for most of the past two decades.Let’s take a deeper look at the pieces that make each of these defenses click.San Francisco 49ers:Let’s think about the San Francisco defense in purely a numbers sense. Five of the defensive starters for the NFC Pro Bowl team had to be replaced when the 49ers made the Super Bowl. In total, six 49ers' defensive players were selected to the team. With the “Smith Brothers” creating a pass rush, Joe Flacco will have to be on high alert. Bryant McKinnie did not play for most of the regular season, and has now been thrust into the starting left tackle position. He manned the position for nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, but his attitude has been questionable throughout his career....
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