Sure, sure, sure this game has much more to offer than just the talk off two head coaches (Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz) and the over excited handshake from last season. After all the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions are two of the better teams in the NFC, but in sports we love controversy and that is exactly what these two intense head coaches provided us with following the meeting last season. Hey that’s half of the reason why this game gets the Sunday Night Football slot this week, sans Handshakegate the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles probably get the primetime slot and national audience. But now let’s move our focus to what should be an excellent game.
The Lions earned a hard fought victory last week over the St. Louis Rams 27-23, in-spite of Matthew Stafford having and up and down game (32-48, an NFL best 355 yards, TD and 3 INT) but hey its not how you start its how you finish and in the end. Calvin Johnson hauled in six receptions for 111 yards but injured his foot in the process (he’ll play this week), could it be the Madden curse rearing its ugly head again? The Lions defense was stout allowing just 250 total offensive yards against St. Louis (173 passing and 77 rushing) and will attempt to do the same against San Francisco.
Detroit’s going to need a more efficient game out of Stafford if they want to knock off (in my opinion) the NFC’s top team, but he’s also going to require much assistance from running back Kevin Smith to keep San Fran’s defense honest. If the Lions can get a lot out of their running game and have their defense produce similar to what they did last week then there is definitely a chance for them to get revenge from last year’s tough loss.
The Niners looked absolutely fantastic last week knocking off the Green Bay Packers last week 30-22 at Lambeau Field and I for one don’t think they’re done showing the world what they’ve got. Alex Smith (20-26, 211 yards, 2 TD) proved once again that he is more than just a game manager and Frank Gore (16 carries for 112 yards and a TD) showed exactly why he should be ruled out as still being one of the top backs in the NFL. Their rushing defense was phenomenal allowing just 45 yards however passing defense could have been better surrendering 279 yards, but after all they were facing the league’s reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.
The 49ers are going to need the same recipe that they used last week to cook up a win versus an NFC North opponent; solid defense, Gore pounding the rock and Big Al to be more than just a game manager. If they can do those three things I don’t see how the Lions could actually get a win, if they do those things all-season I don’t see how anyone could get a win against them; maybe the Baltimore Ravens but they aren’t on their schedule and the two teams could only meet in the Super Bowl (then my predictions would become a reality).
I like Handshakegate Part Duex to end the same way the initial one did with the Niners getting a close win, 27-20. The almost brouhaha is optional; coach Harbaugh, coach Schwartz that part’s up to you guys!