In terms of on-the-field storylines for Sunday night's game, perhaps the biggest for the Detroit Lions is trying to contain San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore. He had a field day against the Lions in 2011, racking up 141 yards on only 15 carries. That was good for a 9.4 yards per carry average, and he found the end zone once during the 49ers' 25-19 victory.
For the Lions to even have a shot at upsetting the 49ers on Sunday, they will have to do much better this year against Gore and the San Francisco rushing attack. More specifically, the Lions will have to avoid getting beat on the "wham" play that tortured them all last season. Here's what Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said about Gore on Friday (quote provided by the Lions):
"He packs a load. Jackson runs high so you can get him down around the legs. This guy drops his pads. He's like a bowling ball going up-field and we have to close off the lanes. Green Bay, they tried to close off the lanes. They packed everybody inside and he popped it outside for about a 20-30 yard touchdown. He's a very gifted back and he's tougher than doornails."
If the Lions can replicate their performance from last week, they should be in good shape, as Steven Jackson managed to rush for only 53 yards on 21 carries.