The Patrick Willis watch seemed to be postponed until the NFC Playoffs. Without Willis, the San Francisco 49ers are unlikely to beat top offenses like the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers, as he can dominate a game from the middle linebacker spot and put his top-notch defense in the best possible position to win football games.
However, the Niners still have a lot to fight for, like the right to take a week off by earning the two seed. So San Francisco still needs a big victory in Week 17 to complete a solid turnaround and get that first-round bye. Willis might be pressed back to action if he's ready to go.
As an approach to this game, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is contemplating putting linebacker Patrick Willis in the game.
"This is a game we have to win," Fangio said. "If he's healthy enough to play, he'll play."
Willis has missed the last three games with a right hamstring strain and was limited in practice on Wednesday -- the first practice he has participated in since the injury.
"Good, looks fine to me right now," Fangio said of Willis' recovery.
The 49ers are playing the Rams, so it's not like they'll be facing a team that's going to seriously scare them. However, it might be best to put Willis on the field and ensure a victory if he's healthy. He's going to have to play at some point anyway.
To discuss Willis and the 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation.