The Detroit Lions are conscionable 1 crippled distant from their first-ever Super Bowl appearance, group to conflict pinch nan top-seeded San Francisco 49ers astatine Levi Stadium successful Santa Clara this Sunday. Kickoff is astatine 6:30 p.m. ET.
Despite nan Lions being favored successful their erstwhile wild-card and divisional information matchups, experts crossed nan state expect a bitter extremity to their singular playoff journey. The 49ers, touted arsenic nan amended squad crossed nan committee are overwhelmingly predicted punch their summons to this year’s Super Bowl, awaiting nan facing betwixt nan Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens successful nan AFC Championship game.
As we attack nan title showdown connected Sunday, let’s research predictions from notable sources specified arsenic MLive’s Kyle Meinke and Ben Raven, alongside insights from NFL journalists crossed nan country.
Ben’s prediction: 49ers
“Please, don’t get huffy astatine me. But nan emotion that this matchup could beryllium nan large leader astatine nan extremity of nan twelvemonth was ever connected my mind. The San Francisco 49ers person 1 of nan astir well-rounded, game-changing rosters successful nan NFL, and an violative mastermind runs them successful Kyle Shanahan. This Lions squad is different and built for semipermanent success.
Kyle’s prediction: 49ers
“The Lions are a awesome squad that is playing its champion shot astatine nan correct time. In a batch of ways, they reflector really nan 49ers are built -- a physical, run-first squad that tin termination you pinch awesome accomplishment players successful space. Both person top-five tally games and passing games. The difference, I fear, is connected defense. Detroit has a glaring weakness connected nan protect perimeter, and continued to beryllium fileted erstwhile opposing quarterbacks target Cam Sutton and Kindle Vildor. And those guys haven’t faced a fleet of violative stars for illustration this since possibly Baltimore. Jared Goff has been astonishing and Detroit will people points.
“I conscionable fearfulness San Francisco will people more, pronouncing nan request for much thief astatine cornerback and successful nan walk unreserved adjacent offseason. And pinch everything other they person coming back, nan Lions person a chance to beryllium moreover amended adjacent twelvemonth and make different tally astatine a ring. But connected Sunday, San Francisco feels for illustration a squad uniquely built to utilization wherever they’re still not complete. LOSS.”
“And I don’t envision them getting blown retired of The Bay, particularly pinch Dan Campbell’s fingerprints each complete nan constitution of this team. But this is wherever I spot it ending. 49ers 27, Lions 17.”
“This crippled has each nan makings of a heavyweight conflict betwixt 2 of nan league’s astir beingness teams. How nan Niners’ tally defense -- which ranks 25th successful rushing yards allowed (128.6) and 28th successful yards per transportation allowed (4.8) since Week 15 -- holds up against nan Lions’ two-headed rushing onslaught of Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery will spell a agelong measurement successful determining whether Detroit tin outpouring nan upset.”
“This should beryllium a classical - and Samuel’s position is immense - but we’ll instrumentality pinch nan location team.”
Prediction: Lions (unanimous)
“With aliases without Samuel against Detroit, which has 1 of nan worst walk defenses successful nan league, nan 49ers’ walk unreserved could extremity up being nan decisive force. San Francisco’s defense generated nan second-most pressures successful nan NFL successful 2023. That’s not awesome news for nan Lions. The 2 teams Detroit has defeated this postseason classed 15th and 19th successful that category.
“Jared Goff has been outstanding successful each of nan past 3 games, but nan quality betwixt Goff’s passer standing erstwhile not pressured and erstwhile pressured is nan largest drop-off successful nan NFL this season, per Next Gen Stats (116.8 erstwhile not pressured; 62.2 erstwhile pressured). If allowed to enactment connected schedule, Goff has what it takes to lead Detroit to nan Super Bowl for nan first clip successful franchise history. Nick Bosa and Co. person nan imaginable to beryllium nan obstacle that proves insurmountable, though.”
“The 49ers are nan amended team. Their defense will make things reliable connected nan Detroit offense, and their discourtesy should beryllium powered by moving backmost Christian McCaffrey, coming disconnected a two-touchdown capacity successful San Francisco’s divisional-round triumph complete nan Green Bay Packers. It’ll beryllium different awesome showing by nan Niners, who will large wind to nan Super Bowl arsenic NFC champions.”