The Detroit Lions will travel to San Francisco for an NFC Championship showdown with the one-seeded 49ers on Sunday. A win would mean a spot in the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.
Last time out: The Lions won their Divisional Round matchup, defeating Tampa Bay 31-23. Quarterback Jared Goff notched 287 yards passing with two touchdowns and a 103.5 passer rating. Jahmyr Gibbs was a threat through the air and on the ground. The rookie running back had 74 yards rushing on just nine attempts, including a 31-yard fourth quarter touchdown, and caught all four of his passing targets for 40 yards.
Detroit's defense stayed true to their recent winning formula. Despite allowing a chunk of yardage through the air they only allowed 89 yards rushing and forced two turnovers. Defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson got an interception early and linebacker Derrick Barnes closed out the game with one.
San Francisco had to mount a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Packers. Quarterback Brock Purdy didn't have his best stuff, only completing 59 percent of his passes, but he was six for seven for 47 yards on the game-clinching drive. Running back Christian McCaffrey went for 98 yards on 17 attempts and two touchdowns.
Linebacker Dre Greenlaw came up with two huge interceptions for the 49ers' defense who struggled to put Packers quarterback Jordan Love under pressure, failing to record a sack. First quarter red-zone defense ended up keeping the game within reach as the Packers reached the red zone on all three of their first drives and failed to score a touchdown on all of them.
Comparison: San Francisco held an 8-1 record last season at Levi's Stadium but showed some vulnerability this season with a 5-3 home record and most recently have lost two of their last three. Detroit is 6-3 this season away from home including wins in some of the toughest environments—at Arrowhead Stadium, at Lambeau Field and at the Superdome.
Matchups: The 49ers rank in the top eight in most statistical categories, both offensively and defensively. One area where they fall slightly behind is pass defense where they allow 214.2 yards a game—14th in the NFL. The Lions' second-ranked passing offense may be leaned on more heavily than usual.
In their last meeting: San Francisco defeated Detroit 41-33 in the 2021 season-opener which was also Dan Campbell's first game as Lions head coach.
The overall series: Dating back to 1950, the 49ers own a 39-28-1 record against the Lions. San Francisco has won 11 of the last 12 contests.
Matchup odds: The Lions are big underdogs according to ESPN Analytics. They give the 49ers a 74.1 percent chance to win.
Here are five 49ers storylines to follow heading into Sunday's matchup:
1. McCaffrey, Purdy and Warner reflect on return to NFC Championship Game
Christian McCaffrey, Brock Purdy and Fred Warner reflect on San Francisco's third straight NFC Championship game and preview Sunday's game against Detroit ... READ MORE
2. Kyle Shanahan sets focus for NFC Championship Game vs. Detroit
Head coach Kyle Shanahan speaks with media on the aggressive nature of the Lions' secondary, the high-level play of Jared Goff, and Detroit's persistent running game ... WATCH
3. McCaffrey, Kittle, Williams, Greenlaw on playing 'hungry' vs. the Lions
49ers players talk with the media about the upcoming matchup with Detroit and their mindset going into Sunday ... WATCH
4. McCaffrey, Purdy named finalists for AP MVP and more NFL honors updates
San Francisco stars, McCaffrey and Purdy, are both up for NFL MVP and other awards ... READ MORE
5. Lenoir, Brendel, Brown, Thomas talk 'playing our level ball' for the playoffs
Deommodore Lenoir, Jake Brendel, Ji'Ayir Brown and Ambry Thomas talk in the locker room with media about Dan Campbell's coaching style, the threat of the Lions' different offensive weapons and their mindset going into their third straight NFC Championship game ... WATCH
View photos of the starters for the San Francisco 49ers.