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O'HARA'S NFC CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Lions just one game away from ultimate goal

Quarterback Jared Goff has been down the road the Detroit Lions are traveling now in the hope that it's a magic ride that takes them to the Super Bowl.

The Lions are one game away from reaching that goal. Only the San Francisco 49ers are blocking their path. The Lions and 49ers meet in the NFC Championship game Sunday with the winner going to the Super Bowl.

Goff was the starting quarterback of the 2018 Los Angeles Rams that lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Goff, who has become a leader in his three seasons with the Lions, can pass on some of his experiences as the Lions prepare for Sunday's game.

"It's helpful, playing in playoff games and winning playoff games, and then being able to draw on those experiences," Goff said. "Certainly road playoff games I think are extremely hard to win. I've been fortunate to have success in them in the past. You can draw on that a little bit.

"This week will be a little more attention than last week. This is the time you dream of as a kid, growing up hoping to be in these final games.

"We're one win away from our ultimate goal of getting to the Super Bowl."

49ers view:

Quarterback Brock Purdy and his San Francisco 49ers teammates knew their season was on the line when they took possession on their 31-yard line with 6:18 left and the Packers holding a 21-17 lead.

Purdy knew that he had not played particularly well to that point. He also knew that the pressure was on his back to lead a drive to a winning touchdown.

"There's obviously plays you think about as the game goes on," Purdy said in his postgame press conference. "All that kind of stuff can run through your mind.

"We had time on the clock. It's not like you have to be a super hero and make a play."

Purdy, in his second season as the 49ers' starting quarterback, had time and talented teammates on his side. He used those resources, completing six of seven passes for 47 yards on the possession.

Christian McCaffrey got the go-ahead touchdown on a six-yard run. The win was clinched when Packers QB Jordan Love had a pass intercepted on a wild throw.

The 49ers move on to face the Detroit Lions Sunday for the NFC Championship, with the winner going to the Super Bowl.

"For us to capitalize like that, it was huge," Purdy said. "We have too many good players on this team – so many players that are difference makers.

"For us not to find a way, it's not right."

Lions' keys:

Offense: Protect Goff so he can make plays. The 49ers had 48 sacks, led by Nick Bosa's 10.5 – and 35 quarterback hits.

Defense: Campbell didn't hesitate to answer when asked what the priority is for the defense.

"Stop the run," he said. "If you don't do that, they'll rush for 250 on you. And they won't even worry about passing."

McCaffrey is a dual threat – 1,459 yards rushing with 14 TDs, and 67 receptions with seven TDs.

Overall: The Lions have the advantage at quarterback in Goff, with an offensive line to protect him – and spring openings for Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery. The longer the Lions can control the ball, the better.

Lions-49ers prediction:

I think the equalizer in this game is at quarterback. Goff consistently spreads the ball to his talented teammates and lets them go to work.

The 49ers are favored by seven points.

My pick: Lions 27, 49ers 23.

Who ya got?

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