The Lions and 49ers have played 60 times dating back to 1950 with the 49ers winning 35 of those contests. The 49ers have dominated the series of late, winning 13 of the last 14 matchups, including a 25-19 victory last season.
|Points per game||27.0 (11)||30.0 (9)|
|Total yards per game||429.0 (5)||377.0 (11)|
|Rushing yards||83.0 (20)||186.0 (2)|
|Passing yards||346.0 (1)||191.0 (27)|
|Points allowed||23.0 (17)||22.0 (16)|
|Total yards allowed||250.0 (2)||324.0 (15)|
|Rushing yards allowed||77.0 (9)||45.0 (7)|
|Passing yards allowed||173.0 (5)||279.0 (23)|
|Turnover ratio||-3 (30)||+1 (13)|
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Stafford can become the first player in NFL history to throw for 350-plus yards in five consecutive games Sunday night in San Francisco. The 49ers have probably the best defense in the NFL, but have been susceptible to big plays in the pass game in the past. With yards on the ground likely to be hard to come by, the Lions might have to rely heavily on Stafford and the passing game.
Young wasn’t much of a factor in last week’s victory over the Rams (one catch for 11 yards) and also made a bad decision with an unnecessary roughness penalty that had the potential to be very costly for the Lions. Young has the ability to be a big-play threat opposite
Randy Moss, WR:
With 30 receiving yards Sunday, Moss will pass Tim Brown on the all-time receiving yards list with 14,935. Moss is a huge red zone threat and caught the 70th red zone touchdown of his career last week against the Packers. Moss is still a dangerous deep threat, too, and he’ll be a good test for the Lions secondary.
Aldon Smith, OLB:
Smith had his way with the Lions offensive line in last year’s meeting with two sacks, a safety, a forced fumble and seven tackles. He led all rookies with 14 sacks last year and is already off to a good start this season with a sack against the Packers last week.
Justin Smith, DT:
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Avoid the trap
Ask the Packers what can happen when you’re one-dimensional against the 49ers' defense. The Packers had 45 yards rushing on just 14 carries last week, which put quarterback Aaron Rodgers in some bad third-and-long situations and contributed to a Week 1 loss. Against the 49ers' stout defense, not a lot of good things happen on third-and-long.
“This would be a game where, we’ve got be able to have a certain amount of success doing both (run and pass),” said Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. “This defense forces you to be one-dimensional, it makes things pretty tough and they’ve proven that this year and we saw how they were able to win the game last week.
“This is one of the toughest challenges we’ve had as far as playing an opponent like this defensively, on the road, all the those things.”
Stop the run
The Lions did a good job of containing Rams running back Steven Jackson last week (53 yards), but have a tough task again this week against the 49ers and Frank Gore.
The 49ers are at their best offensively when Gore and the rushing attack are on track and quarterback Alex Smith can play off of them. The Lions had a difficult time stopping the power runs from the 49ers last year and Gore gashed them for 141 yards and a score.
“We need to fit in the right spots, we need to get all the blocks, we need to tackle and that really doesn’t change whether it’s a lead play, a wham play, a trap, a sweep or anything else,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said.
“I think the important thing is that we play good team defense -- tackle well and hit our gaps. And if we do miss, we miss with leverage so the other guys are there to clean it up. We did a pretty good job of that in the first game and we need to continue in that vein.”
The 49ers haven’t turned the ball over in a regular season game in 26 quarters. Smith has thrown 185 consecutive passes without throwing an interception. If the Lions are going to win Sunday night on the road, those streaks probably can’t continue.
The Lions were very lucky to come away with a victory last week despite having a minus-3 turnover ratio. They can’t expect to beat the 49ers with that ratio.
The Lions forced 34 turnovers last season, third most in the NFL.
Can DL show its muscle?
The Lions were dominant upfront last week against the Rams, but have a difficult task against a much better 49ers offensive line. The Lions were particularly strong up the middle last week with
The Lions had success last week with some different stunts. Expect them to give the 49ers a lot of different looks Sunday night and we could see more of the “Grey” package.
“Well, they’re a very big, strong, physical, athletic defensive line that is very well-coached and they’re very aggressive,” said 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Lions’ defensive line in a conference call this week. “So, you know, when you talk about being a real football fight, a real struggle, I think you’ll see that in this ballgame as well as you’ll ever see it.”
Can Calvin take the top off?
The Cowboys and Cardinals had a lot of success against the 49ers last season pushing the ball down the field in the pass game. It just so happens that’s one of the Lions’ specialties.
The 49ers defense gave up passing plays of 77, 60, 55, 53, 35 and 25 yards in those two losses last season to the Cowboys and Cardinals.
Johnson had a quiet 111 yards last week (if there is such a thing) because we’re so used to seeing him get into the end zone. In the past two meetings with the 49ers, he has 14 catches for 209 yards (104.5 per game).