San Francisco 49ers: 6 Players They Must Lean on During 2012 NFL Playoff Run

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San Francisco 49ers: 6 Players They Must Lean on During 2012 NFL Playoff Run
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Coach Jim Harbaugh has said that his coaching staff will study all three possible NFC playoff teams that have a chance to play the San Francisco 49ers in next week’s divisional playoff game. But if he spends any longer than reading the labels of the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions video discs, he’s wasting time.

The Saints are coming to town and everyone knows it. The league’s most prolific passing and second-highest-scoring team comes to town. Not an easy task.

In the Saints they face Drew Brees, the league’s record-setter in terms of yardage gained in one season. A victory will require a great effort, but if things work out as they should, all that awaits are the Packers, the No. 1 seed and the league’s highest-scoring team, whose quarterback, Aaron Rodgers set the record for highest QB rating.

To get to the Super Bowl, the Niners are going to have to pitch back-to-back gems on defense. Not necessarily no-hitters, but something akin to a Tim Lincecum 14-strikeout effort, followed with something similar by Matt Cain.

With these two stars looming on the horizon, playoff success is going to depend on the entire team, but as in most cases, some players will feel the pressure more than others.

Here are six players who will need to step up for the Niners to get to the Super Bowl.

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