clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lions mailbag: Can Detroit replicate Packers’ offensive success vs. 49ers?

The Green Bay Packers offense looked impressive against the San Francisco 49ers. Can the Detroit Lions replicate that success in the NFC Championship game?

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Throughout the regular season, the San Francisco 49ers defense was considered one of the best in the league. They allowed the third fewest points this season (17.5 PPG) and teams were averaging just 5.0 yards per play against the 49ers (ninth fewest).

But last week in the NFC Divisional Round game against the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco’s defense didn’t just look mortal, they looked beatable.

Packers running back Aaron Jones racked up 108 rushing yards on just 18 carries (6.0 YPC), while Green Bay managed to score on four of their first six drives of the game. Jordan Love was kept clean all game (zero sacks, 6 QB hits), and the Packers punted just a single time all game.

The only reason Green Bay finished with only 21 points is because they struggled to finish drives. They settled for two red zone field goals, failed to convert a fourth-and-1 in the red zone, missed a field goal, and threw two interceptions. Without those largely-unforced mistakes, the Packers likely hang 30 on the 49ers defense and walk away with a win.

Can the Detroit Lions take inspiration from the Packers’ performance, clean up the mistakes, and walk away with a huge upset against the 49ers? That’s one of our main topics on this week’s Midweek Mailbag podcast.

“I do think the Packers had a nice blueprint, especially in the run game,” Erik Schlitt said. “They got the Niners’ interior into some compromising spots. Look, (Nick) Bosa is great. If you run at him, though, you can run past him. Chase Young is great, but Chase Young isn’t Chase Young anymore. He hasn’t been Chase Young for a couple years now. You can run at Chase.”

The 49ers run defense is, indeed, much worse than you may expect. They rank 26th in run defense EPA, 24th in success rate, and 15th in DVOA. If the Lions can take advantage of that early, not only could that dictate the pace of the game to Detroit’s preference, but it could also open up the middle of the field—where the Lions are at their best passing.

“If they start making the 49ers commit more players to the box then it does maybe open up some stuff over the top, over the middle,” I explained.

That entire conversation starts around the 34:50 mark of the podcast below.

Other topics this week:

  • (2:45) — Was it actually a blessing in disguise that the 49ers beat the Packers?
  • (9:15) — Favorite plays from this season?
  • (13:30) — Who plays more this week: Anthony Firkser or Zach Ertz?
  • (17:30) — How big is Jonah Jackson’s injury? What can the Lions do to help Kayode Awosika?
  • (21:20) — Bigger concern: No Jonah Jackson or Lions secondary vs. 49ers weapons?
  • (30:20) — Will the Lions utilize trick plays vs. 49ers? Which would be the best vs. this San Francisco defense?
  • (41:30) — Will special teams have a big impact on Lions vs. 49ers?
  • (44:10) — Biggest fear of the 49ers? Biggest reason the Lions will win?

Subscribe to the PODcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or iHeartRadio. Follow Pride Of Detroit on Twitch to get notified when we record the PODcast live and chat with us. Video replays are available on Twitch and YouTube.

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.