Patrick Willis

25 Greatest Middle Linebackers in NFL History

Ray Lewis has two Super Bowls and two Defensive Player of the Year awards. But is he the best ever?
<p> 25 Greatest Middle Linebackers in NFL History, including Ray Lewis, Jack Lambert, Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, Ray Nitschke, Bill George, Junior Seau, Brian Urlacher, Patrick Willis, Chuck Bednarik, Nick Buoniconti, Joe Schmidt, Willie Lanier, Harry Carson, Lee Roy Jordan, Ken Norton Jr. and Tedy Bruschi.</p>

Middle linebackers are the quarterbacks of the defense, the nerve center of a stop-unit. Many of the game’s greatest players have been the man in the middle who called the shots in the huddle before turning into tackling machines and splash-playmakers from sideline-to-sideline once the ball was snapped. Keeping all aspects of the job in mind, we rank the top 25 greatest middle linebackers in NFL history.

NFC Championship Preview and Prediction: San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

49ers looking for different results in their return to NFC title game; Falcons aiming to finish the job at home
<p> NFC Championship Preview and Prediction: San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons</p>

The top two teams in the NFC meet on Sunday to determine who will represent the conference in Super Bowl XLVII, as the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons face off in the NFC Championship game at 3 p.m. ET on FOX. The 49ers find themselves in the conference title game for the second year in a row, but this time must get the job done on the road against the Falcons, who have lost just one game in the Georgia Dome this season.

San Francisco 49ers vs. New England Patriots Preview and Prediction

Two of the NFL’s best meet as the 49ers try to end the Patriots’ seven-game winning streak
<p> San Francisco 49ers vs. New England Patriots Preview and Prediction</p>

The San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots face off tonight at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC in what could potentially be a preview of Super Bowl XLVII. The 49ers (9-3-1) are trying to hold Seattle off for the top spot in the NFC West, while the Patriots (10-3) could potentially knock Houston from the top of the standings in the AFC. This also is a matchup of one of the league’s top defenses in San Francisco trying to slow down a New England offense that’s been lighting up the scoreboard most of the season.

13 Athletes who Scare Other Athletes

Even the top players fear some of the competition in their game.
<p> 13 Athletes who Scare Other Athletes</p>

We love to watch the fearless nature that many of our favorite sports stars exude in their respective games. But even professional stars have to feel a little scared of their competition from time to time, right? To celebrate Halloween, Athlon Sports asked hundreds of pro athletes, "Which athlete scares you the most?" Here are our favorite responses.

San Francisco 49ers are the Best All-Around Team in the NFL

The Packers might be undefeated, but the 49ers' combination of a great offense and great defense is convincing

by Josh Kipnis

The San Francisco 49ers are the best all-around team in the NFL.  Yes, the Packers are undefeated.  Yes, Aaron Rodgers could be the best passer we have ever seen.  But teams without the Greek God of Quarterbacks have to have a balanced attack and consistency in all aspects of the game.  If we are determining a team with the best offense/defense combination, I have to pick the Niners.