The San Francisco 49ers came to Ford Field in 2011 and rained on the “Lions are dominant” parade and had their own coming out party as serious contenders in the NFC.
The Lions look to avenge that loss, the Jim Schwartz/Jim Harbaugh hand shake fiasco and move to 2-0 to start 2012. In order to do that there are a few areas that they will have to focus on to beat the 49ers in San Francisco.
First, they have to tackle better than last year and not over persue. Last year, at 5-0 the Lions were confident and the defense was strong and they were winning, however Frank Gore and the 49ers exploited the defense’s tendency to flock to the ball and with a few simple cut back runs, Gore racked up 141 yards on just 15 carries.
If the Lions can control that aspect of the game, it will greatly increase their chances to go steal a win on the road. However, if the Lions offense allows the 49ers defense to control the turnover battle, it may not matter.
Matthew Stafford has to protect the ball. Beating the Rams despite 3 INTs is one thing but the 49ers are a much better football team than the Rams.
If Stafford can avoid these mistakes, no other players decide to start fumbling the ball and the receivers can avoid the drops, then the offense can provide enough points to give the Lions a very important win.
However, don’t expect the offense to go crazy and score 40 points, if they can score more than 24, they should be in good shape to win as long as the 49ers RBs haven’t carried the ball for a crazy YPC average close to 10 yards again like last year.
I think the Lions really put together a complete effort this week, in the spotlight and avoid stupid penalties (including Titus Young) and squeak out a bit win 27-20.