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Michael Crabtree and 9 X-Factors for a San Francisco 49ers Playoff Run

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Michael Crabtree and 9 X-Factors for a San Francisco 49ers Playoff Run
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Crabtree hopes to lead San Francisco to a deep playoff run.

If the San Francisco 49ers are going to have any success in the playoffs, Patrick Willis has to play well.

Of course, if the San Francisco 49ers go one-and-done in the playoffs or even miss the postseason entirely, Willis is probably going to play well—that’s what he does.  Game in and game out, players like Willis, Joe Staley and Justin Smith provide a consistent level of excellence that the 49ers can rely on to be the foundation of their success.

This article is not about them.

This article is about San Francisco’s X-factors: players whose performance will be the difference between another Super Bowl appearance and a date on the couch come February.  We’re looking for players whose fortunes have coincided with the team in general—players with good performances when San Francisco wins and bad performances when it loses. 

The higher the highs and the lower the lows, the more likely they are to appear on this list.  For the 49ers to make a deep run this year, they’ll need more of the former and a lot less of the latter.

Here are nine of San Francisco’s top X-factors entering the 2013 NFL playoffs.

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