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Willis is widely considered the best LB in the league.
I know 49ers fans are going to be pissed about this ranking, and at 7-1, I completely understand their agitation.
Nonetheless, I will try to provide my side of the story.
The 49ers were 6-10 last season, 8-8 the year before, 7-9, 5-11, 7-9, 4-12, 2-14 and 7-9. They haven't had a winning season since 2001.
Obviously, the past doesn't have to have anything to do with the present, but the 49ers key players this season (Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, Justin and Alex Smith) have been here in the past and have no history of success.
Meaning, I'd like to see this team finish the season strong before I put them ahead of similarly structured, proven teams like the Steelers, Ravens and Jets.
The 49ers play hard, relentless defense and try to protect the ball offensively, and the Steelers and Ravens have been doing that successfully for awhile now.