Once again, it's time to consider whether or not linebacker Patrick Willis should suit up and take the field for the 49ers. Following his hamstring injury against the St. Louis Rams, the question of whether or not the 49ers should play Willis, if cleared, has come up twice - before the game against the Arizona Cardinals and the Monday Night Football showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Though those games remained important for playoff seeding purposes, given the strong play of fill-in Larry Grant, most have said that no, Willis shouldn't play.
And despite the fact that Willis re-joined his teammates at the start of practice on Thursday, the answer should essentially remain the same: rest him. Sure, San Francisco sorely needs to win its next two games to maintain the second seed in the NFC (and technically are still in the running for the No. 1 seed), but what happens once they get to the playoffs is much more important, and though Grant has filled in very well, the playoffs are a much different beast and Willis would be sorely missed.
That being the case, the 49ers should be confident in their ability to best Seattle, even on the road, without Willis. While it's true that the Seahawks are playing great football of late, the 49ers already beat them once this season and that should give them a lot of confidence going forward.
Also of particular note is the fact that it's expected to be very cold on Saturday, and that's always a factor with any injury. When it comes to Willis' hamstring, the worst thing that could happen is that it could tighten up, and once that happens, if it's strained at all, it will exacerbate the injury immensely. Hamstrings get re-injured due to players returning too soon more frequently than any other in the NFL, and that's a risk the 49ers just shouldn't take.