The Detroit Lions are in the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 1992. They travel to Santa Clara to face the San Franscisco 49ers Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium. It is the Lions second appearance in an NFC Championship Game in the Super Bowl era, the fewest for any NFC team. San Francisco is making its 19 th appearance in an NFC title game, the most all-time. The winner advances to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. Yes, this one is big.
NFL: Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers Picks
Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers Analysis
The Lions have followed the same script that worked for them in the regular season, an attacking offense powered by a great offensive line, Jared Goff making plays to Amon-Ra St. Brown and a defense that comes up big when it has to. Ironically, it’s come full circle for Dan Campbell and company. His first game as Lions head coach was in San Francisco in a 41-33 loss in 2021. A lot has changed since then. The Lions are the talk of the NFL world, trying to get to their first Super Bowl.
Injury Report: The Lions are not 100 percent healthy. The biggest loss is offensive guard Jonah Jackson, who came out of the Bucs win with a knee injury. He’s unlikely to play. The Lions also lost back-up tight end Brock Wright to a broken forearm. They signed former Eagles star Zach Ertz to the practice squad with an eye on elevating him for Sunday. What kind of shape is he in?
San Francisco has looked like the best team in the NFC for most of the year. Brock Purdy gets a lot of attention, because he wasn’t highly thought of coming out of college, but all he’s done is win for San Fran since taking over. Christian McCaffrey is the engine in the Niners offense. He led the NFL in total yards and touches. He’s incredibly elusive. The defense is tough. The Niners finished third on offense and defense in the regular season.
Injury Report: The biggest question mark on the injury front entering Sunday is the status of Niners wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Samuel hurt his shoulder early in the win over the Packers and Coach Kyle Shanahan called him ’50-50’ early in the week. It’s the same shoulder that Samuel fractured in Week 6 against the Browns causing him to miss four weeks. Him missing the game would be a big loss for the Niners.
Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers Key Points and Trends
- This is the first Detroit Lions team to ever win 14 games in one season. The Lions are 13-6 against the spread this season, while San Francisco is 9-9.
- Lions quarterback Jared Goff has started nine games against San Francisco in his career and is 3-6 all-time against them. He hasn’t beaten them since 2018.
- Detroit has covered the spread in eight of their last nine games as the underdog.
Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers Match Prediction
hat a moment for the Detroit Lions and all of Michigan. After 32 years, Detroit is back in the NFC Championship Game. They meet an unfamiliar opponent, San Francisco, who they haven’t played in over two years.
There are a lot of similarities to both teams. They both have an elite offensive line. Penei Sewell for the Lions. Trent Williams for the Niners. Combine Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery and you have Christian McCaffrey. Amon-Ra St. Brown is Brandon Aiyuk (maybe better) and Sam LaPorta and George Kittle are two of the games best tight ends.
So like in so many other championship games, it’s going to come down to the quarterbacks and turnovers. Purdy is a question mark. He doesn’t have the flash of Mahomes or legs like Lamar Jackson, but he can make big throws when he has to. Goff has silenced almost every doubt about him in the first two rounds.
The Niners defense is a tick better. They’re more experienced in big games, but the Lions just feel like magic right now.
Per @pfref, since 1990 there have been 3 rookie duos to receive AP votes for OROY:— Gamble Online Michigan (@GambleonlineMI) January 25, 2024
2016: Ezekiel Elliot & Dak Prescott (DAL)
2006: Marquis Colston & Reggie Bush (NO)
1991: Pat Harlow & Leonard Russell (NE)
The @Lions look to add another duo to that list. https://t.co/ePcnRvz7bZ
Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers Best Bet
I’m surprised the spread is so high on this game. I think it’s much closer than people think. Both offenses execute at such a high level, but the Niners without Samuel is a big edge for Detroit. That’s one less weapon they have to account for. I must say I do think San Francisco wins. I think they are home and make the play at the end, but I am comfortable with the Lions and the points.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.