There is no doubting that the 49ers have the No. 1 defense in the NFL. It's simply dominant, and it has the ability to completely disrupt what any team tries to do on offense.
Patrick Willis looked rusty in the 49ers Week 17 win against the St. Louis Rams, and the team allowed two rushing touchdowns. I don't expect this to be the trend we'll see in the playoffs, however.
Willis, while looking rusty, didn't re-aggravate his sore hamstring. This is good news for 49ers fans. In fact, the 49ers will enter the playoffs in the divisional round without a single starter dealing with injury.
Aldon Smith is the best young pass-rusher in the NFL, and he'll get plenty of opportunities in the playoffs to prove it. The offseason acquisitions of Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers are proving to be strokes of brilliance, and Trent Baalke deserves credit for putting this defense together.
Whether it's the Saints, Giants or Falcons making their way into Candlestick Park in a couple of weeks, the 49ers defense will have what it takes to shut them down.
The biggest test, of course, would be in the NFC Championship game in Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. This is the matchup of the year, as far as I'm concerned.
I have no doubt in my mind that we will all be treated to this contest of offense versus defense, and I have no doubts that the 49ers are capable of getting enough pressure on Aaron Rodgers to cause a couple of turnovers and win the game.