After edging out a win last weekend against the St. Louis Rams, the 1-0 Lions head west to take on the San Francisco 49ers who looked very impressive last Sunday in a 30-22 win over the Green Bay Packers.
Now despite both teams entering this game 1-0, both teams appear to be in very different places amongst the rest of the NFC. With the Lions needing a drive in the final minutes to beat one of the bottom feeders of the NFC, the 49ers dominated a 15-1 Packers team last year that were Super Bowl favorites all season.
However all things considered, tonight’s game isn’t a slam dunk for NFC powerhouse Niners.
Many pieces on that San Francisco offense, namely Alex Smith aren’t world beaters while the Detroit offense is extremely dangerous with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. In the end it may come down to how good the Niners defense can be and how much Smith can take advantage of a weak Lions secondary.
Bottom line, today’s matchup is more or less a measuring stick game for a Lions team that’s still making their way up the NFC totem pole.
Lions Player to Watch: Matthew Stafford (QB)
The Lions won last weeks game because of Matthew Stafford. It can also be said that if they lost last weeks game it would’ve been Stafford’s fault. Either way Stafford has to be better this week because the Lions can ill afford to give the ball away against a very good 49ers team.
Expect a good bounce back game for Stafford who will also have to spread the ball around a lot amongst his receiving targets.
San Francisco Player to Watch: Frank Gore (RB)
Last weekend Frank Gore had a very Gore-like game getting himself 16 carries for 112 yards and one touchdown. He was without a doubt one of the reasons why the Niners beat the Packers in week one and a big reason why San Francisco came to Detroit last year and left with a win.
The Lions did a good job last weekend preventing Steven Jackson from running all over the place and will need to do that same thing this weekend against Gore.
Bring on the Pass Rush
It’s no secret that the Lions secondary isn’t good and you’re probably thinking an aggressive pass rush would be a bad idea. However lets be honest with ourselves here, the Lions aren’t going up against Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or even Peyton Manning bad neck and all. They’re going up against Alex Smith, a mediocre QB at best and please don’t try and to sell me that he’s some solid QB because if he was the Niners wouldn’t have made a pitch for Peyton Manning during the offseason.
What I’m getting at here is if you bring the pass rush and put some pressure on Smith the Lions could force him into making a bad throw and potentially a turnover. Do not give him time in the pocket with the options he has out wide.
Keep the penalties under control
The Lions did a good job last weekend keeping the penalties under control, unlike last season when they without a doubt cost them couple of games.
No need in giving away free yardage this weekend, especially against one of the NFC’s best.
Establish the Run
This is such a cliche statement when outlining the keys of the game for any team, but this week it’s as important than ever. The 49ers have a good defense that should pose a challange for the Lions receivers, even with Calvin in the mix. Developing a good running game will take the pressure off of Stafford and hopefully get some of the double and triple teams off of Megatron.
I think a lot of people were a little quick to jump on the 49ers band wagon after their impressive showing weak one. However with that big victory and the depleted Lions secondary I just don’t see good things coming out of this game for the Lions.
49ers 31, Lions 21