DETROIT LIONS (1-0)
at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (1-0)
Kickoff: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT
Line: San Francisco -6˝, Total: 46
After knocking off the Packers in Week 1, the 49ers meet another playoff team when they host the Lions on Sunday night.
The lasting image from the Niners’ win in Detroit last October was the head coaches jawing on the way to the locker room. It overshadowed an incredibly tight game. The Lions had the edge in turnovers (2-0) and were outgained by only four yards (314-310), but San Francisco ran all over them (203 yards) and shut down two potential game-winning drives in the final minutes. This time the game will be in San Francisco, where the 49ers were dominant a year ago. They looked as good as ever in last week’s win in Green Bay, while the Lions needed last-second heroics just to knock off the lowly Rams at home.
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Lions QB Matthew Stafford had a mistake-filled Week 1 (three interceptions), but he still finished with 355 passing yards and a game-winning TD pass to Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left. Stafford targeted five players at least five times each, led by WR Calvin Johnson (6 rec, 111 yds) and TE Brandon Pettigrew (5 rec, 77 yds). Detroit actually did a decent job running the football with 4.6 yards per carry, as Smith rushed 13 times for 62 yards (4.8 YPC) and 1 TD. On the other side of the ball, the Lions held St. Louis to 250 total yards and just 3.0 yards per carry. However, San Francisco’s rushing offense will present a much greater challenge for this Detroit team that has lost 11 straight road trips to San Francisco.
Niners QB Alex Smith came out throwing in Week 1, connecting on 20-of-26 passes for 211 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT. The one negative is that he was sacked four times. Despite Smith’s heroics, the star of the upset win in Green Bay was RB Frank Gore who rushed for 112 yards on just 16 carries (7.0 YPC) including a 23-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Gore has also run all over Detroit in his career. In four games (all 49ers wins), he has 501 rushing yards (5.5 YPC) and 4 TD, while adding 132 more yards on 12 receptions. The 49ers defense has been outstanding in the past eight games in this series, holding Detroit to less than 20 points in each contest.