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Discussion: The Detroit Lions will beat the San Francisco 49ers if...

What needs to happen for the Detroit Lions to beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game? We break down the keys .

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK


In hours, the Detroit Lions will compete for their first ever appearance in a Super Bowl. For just the second time in team history, they are a game away. Only the San Francisco 49ers stand in the way.

Yet to say “only” the 49ers stand in the way is to underestimate the opponent. San Francisco is inarguably one of the best teams in football. They came into the year with Super Bowl aspirations, and they’ve been at the top of the standings all season. Their roster is rife with talent, and this game isn’t too big for the franchise—as it’s their third consecutive appearance in the NFC Championship game... though they’ve lost each of the previous two.

But Detroit’s appearance in this game is no fluke, either. They were the heavy favorites to win the division, and they ran away with the NFC North—clinching it two weeks early and finishing the season three games better than the closest divisional rival.

The Lions are no fluke, either. This team has won 22 of their last 29 games. They’ve won on the road, at home, in primetime, as underdogs, as favorites, vs. NFC, vs. AFC, indoors, outdoors. No challenge is too much for this Lions team, and so we know they will not walk into Levi’s Stadium with any fear or doubt their mind—seven-point underdogs be damned.

But what is the actual path to victory? How can the Lions defeat a 49ers team that appears to have the personnel and home-field advantage.

Today’s NFC Championship Question of the Day is:

The Detroit Lions will win the NFC Championship if...

My answer: I saw it at the end of my Lions vs. 49ers preview and I’ll say it again. The Lions will beat the 49ers if two of the following three things happen:

  • The Lions rush for 125 yards
  • Detroit and Jared Goff do not turn the ball over once
  • The 49ers turn the ball over 2+ times

The Lions are capable of making any or all of those things happening. Goff has taken great care of the ball lately. The Lions run game has a distinct advantage against this 49ers defense and Jahmyr Gibbs is coming off one of his best games. As for the 49ers turning the ball over twice, that seems like the least likely outcome, but Brock Purdy can be erratic at times. San Francisco has turned the ball over multiple times in just four games this season, but they’re 1-3 in those games.

So if the Lions can hit two of those three bullet points, I believe they’ll head to their first Super Bowl ever.

What do you think? Scroll down to the comment section and share your thoughts.

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