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Lions vs. 49ers preview: Why Detroit has legitimate shot at upset

The Detroit Lions are considered pretty big underdogs against the San Francisco 49ers, but in our preview podcast, 49ers fan Rob Guerrera explains why Detroit has a shot at an upset.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers face off on Sunday for the NFC title crown. For the 49ers, it’s their fourth appearance in the conference championship game in the past five years, and they’ve only advanced once in the past three attempts. For the Lions, this is their first chance at a Super Bowl appearance in 32 years.

But despite the disparity in each team’s recent history, the Lions and 49ers come into this matchup with an equal amount of hope and promise. While San Francisco is a seven-point home favorite, there are certainly matchups that favor the Lions, and players who could carry them to a big upset.

So to help us break down the entire game, we had a crossover podcast with 49ers fan and analyst Rob Guerrera, who hosts of the Gold Standard Podcast Network.

Guerrera broke down everything you could possibly want to know about the 49ers, including the strengths and weaknesses of Brock Purdy, why the Chase Young trade hasn’t worked out as expected, and what makes someone like Brandon Aiyuk special and overlooked.

But it may surprise you to learn that Guerrera is a bit nervous going against the Lions this week, too. In particular, he’s not exactly high on the 49ers defensive line going up against Detroit’s strong offensive line.

“You’ll be able to run up the middle,” Guerrera said. “You’re getting me on a day where I’m not particularly high on the 49ers defensive line. I really think in a lot of cases, they’re more name than game. The Javon Hargrave I saw that was a pass-rushing terror for the Eagles, I don’t know where that guy went, but I know he’s not in San Francisco. It’s just not there. There’s too many game where we’re saying, ‘Where’s the pass rush?’”

Of course, the Lions counter with an extremely impressive offensive line that will be a huge asset in the run game, and if they can protect Jared Goff, we know the Lions quarterback is outstanding without pressure in his face.

Defensively, it’s a bigger hill to climb for the Lions. But the matchup between Aidan Hutchinson and 49ers right tackle Colton McKivitz provides some serious hope for Detroit. McKivitz has allowed nine sacks this year—nearly double anyone else on the 49ers—and his 52 pressures allowed (per PFF) is fourth most of any offensive tackle in football.

“On the one hand, I say, ‘Well, look, it’s been an issue all year and the 49ers have kinda dealt with it,’” Guerrera said. “But on the other hand, when you’re talking about a one-game scenario where it may come down to one, single play—a lot of time that single play is a pass, and a lot of times, everybody knows you’re going to pass. And in that situation, Aidan Hutchinson is beating Colton McKivitz every single time. So that does give me the cold sweats.”

Listen to our entire conversation here:

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