49ers vs. Lions: 5 Individual Matchups to Watch in Week 16

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Oct 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aaron Lynch (59) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker Aaron Lynch

Second-year linebacker Aaron Lynch has missed the last two games while going through the NFL’s concussion protocol but was cleared to practice this week, per Eric Branch of SFGate.com.

This is good news for a 49ers defense struggling to generate much of a pass rush in his absence. And it also bodes well given how Detroit has allowed a whopping 38 sacks of quarterback Matthew Stafford — eighth highest in the league.

Lynch’s pass-rushing abilities have put him among the leaders within San Francisco’s defense this season, according to Pro Football Focus (h/t Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat).

Assisted by the steady play of defensive linemen Ian Williams and Arik Armstead, Lynch should have his opportunities to apply pressure on Stafford.

The 49ers will need it.

Detroit’s offense, despite being ranked No. 19 in the league with 302 points, is ninth overall in total yards through the air (3,646) and ranks fifth in total passing attempts (556).

Next: Wide Receiver Torrey Smith