The Detroit Lions are considerable underdogs in their Sunday afternoon clash against the San Francisco 49ers, but Coach Dan Campbell, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and the rest of the Lions have so many tricks hidden in their sleeves.
This past Sunday, unexpected heroes like linebacker Derrick Barnes led the way to a home victory over Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers.
This week, the Lions’ potentially fatal flaws were revealed for their upcoming NFC Title Game tilt with Brock Purdy and company. The 49ers have flaws of their own, which Johnson, Campbell, Aaron Glenn, and the rest of Detroit’s coaching staff are hoping to exploit in Santa Clara, California.
The Lions are not exactly a trendy upset pick this week in comparison with previous weeks. They won their first two playoff games but will now be venturing into hostile territory to face a team that’s been the NFC favorites all year.
Here are three reasons why the Lions will upset the 49ers this weekend.
The Lions Are Playing With the House’s Money
The Detroit Lions are the team few people expected to be in the final four. Meanwhile, the 49ers have been seen as a shoo-in for the NFC Title Game ever since last year’s tough-luck loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Lions will have the luxury of playing loose, namely, not to lose, against San Francisco this coming weekend.
Coach Campbell’s team has thrived in that role all season. There’s no reason to think they won’t do the same thing on Sunday on the road against a great team that bears a lot of similarities to the way Detroit plays on both sides of the ball.
On Sunday, the Lions sealed the game with an interception by linebacker Derrick Barnes on a ball thrown late across the middle by Baker Mayfield. The 49ers won on a similar play made by linebacker Dre Greenlaw on an errant pass over the middle from Jordan Love.
Jared Goff Has ‘Been There Before’
People forget that Brock Purdy has never played on a stage as big as the one he will play on this coming weekend.
Purdy, the former ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ from Iowa State University, will take on the former number one overall pick and California Golden Bear Jared Goff.
Goff was seen as a liability for the Rams despite leading them to the Super Bowl. Now he’s riding high confidence wise off of Coach Dan Campbell’s compliments and daily doses of validation after big wins in the playoffs.
If the moment is too big for Purdy and he makes too many mistakes, Goff and the Lions will capitalize in the blink of an eye, putting distance between themselves and the NFC favorites.
Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta Have Superstar Talent-
The Lions relied on their veterans during the early stages of the Dan Campbell era.
Now, rookie studs Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta are making teams wish they didn’t pass on them in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Both Gibbs and LaPorta have suddenly found themselves among the best offensive players in the National Football League.
LaPorta isn’t fully healthy after a knee injury suffered in the first round vs. the Rams, but he is healthy enough to make opposing defenses account for him in clutch moments.
With Gibbs ascending to superstar territory after his impressive game vs. the Buccaneers, the Lions have everything they need to shock the 49ers on the road, something it seems like Dan Campbell, Aaron Glenn and company were put on this Earth to do based on their early career results.