49ers vs Patriots: 5 Keys to the Game for San Francisco

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49ers vs Patriots: 5 Keys to the Game for San Francisco
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The 9-3-1 San Francisco 49ers march into Foxborough to take on the sizzling 10-3 New England Patriots in what will likely go down as the best game of the 2012 regular season. 

This will truly be a test of two very strong wills. The 49ers vaunted first-ranked defense will have its first crack at the No. 1-ranked offense in the league. What could be better than this? 

Even better, this match could determine the fate of several playoff hopeful teams. 

While the Patriots have locked up a playoff berth, the 49ers are still searching for their playoff invite.

With the Seattle Seahawks and several other NFC contenders lurking, this match could determine not only the NFC West, but also potential bye slots in the NFC. 

For a football fan, there is no better present. 

Without further ado, let's get to the five keys for the 49ers in this Sunday night showdown. 

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