The Detroit Lions narrowly escaped with a week one win against the lowly St. Louis Rams. If the Lions want to leave week two of the NFL season with a 2-0 record they are going to have to play a lot better than they did against the Rams.
Winning the turnover battle with the San Francisco 49ers will be a huge key in this game as it is in every NFL game. The 49ers have a top tier defense with great players at all phases of their defensive unit.
It might be easier for the Lions to break into Fort Knox then it will be to score at will against San Francisco’s defense. The 49ers were impressive in their week one victory against the Green Bay Packers.
The Niners also run the ball well, which is an area of concern for Detroit’s offense as well. Detroit has to limit the touches and rushing yards of 49er RB Frank Gore.
With RB Mikel Leshoure serving the second game of his two game suspension RB Kevin Smith will be relied on again. He came up big last Sunday with the game winning touchdown catch, but he has to follow that performance up again this Sunday night.
The Lions defensive line needs to get pressure on QB Alex Smith. If Detroit wants to force turnovers they will have to get to Smith quick and get him to make bad decisions with the football.
Ndamukong Suh has to have a big game. He is the anchor of Detroit’s D-line and if he can bring his “A” game the Lions will be able to cause havoc in San Francisco’s backfield.
QB Matthew Stafford has to put up big numbers, but he has to manage the game in an efficient manner as well. Three interceptions against the 49er defense will pretty much be game, set, match for the Lions.
WR Calvin Johnson’s health will play a vital role as if he cannot plant his injured foot well he will struggle to make cuts, accelerate and beat his man down field. The tight ends along with WR’s Nate Burleson and Titus Young will have opportunities to make big plays too.
It sounds like the Lions need the all of that listed above and the kitchen sink to win on Sunday Night football, which is true to an extent. The 49ers look like the early team to beat in the NFC as they top many people’s power rankings thus far.