Reading previews for this Sunday's San Francisco 49ers-Detroit Lions game, you will be hard pressed to find an article that doesn't have some variation of this line in the opening sentences, "Prior to week 1, who would have thought that this game would be a scintillating matchup between two potential playoff teams that have combined for only one loss in the first five weeks?"
I did. Sort of.
Looking back at my 10 NFL predictions prior to the season here, two of my predictions were related to the Lions and the 49ers.
Prediction 2: Lions make the playoffs
Prediction 10: 49ers will finish at least 7-9
So based on my forward thinking, I believed this game had some importance prior to the season starting. Maybe ESPN will hire me so I can become the 124th writer/blogger for the NFL?
Ok, I didn't think the Lions would be 5-0 and the 49ers would be 4-1 and this would be the game of the week (sorry Dallas/New England). If you don't have Directv this week, I'm sorry you have to watch the Redskins/Eagles slopfest. This game will be entertaining and for a 49ers fan like myself, won't be the end of the world if we lose as we are playing with house money. Couple of keys going into the game:
49ers: Will they be able to run and pass block well enough against a formidable front line? The offensive line struggled to begin the season but has turned it around the past couple of weeks. A big test against Suh and company.
Lions: 49ers will be the toughest defense they have played yet, especially the front 7. They get off blocks, tackle, hit with authority and can rush the passer. If the Lions can't run the ball, which nobody has consistently done against the Niners this season, Matthew Stafford might have to throw 45-50 times again this week. That plays in the hands of the Niners defense as they have forced the most turnovers in the NFC and have the #1 red zone defense.
Predictions: Anthony Davis with at least 2 false start penalties.
Alex Smith throws two interceptions.
Ted Ginn scores a touchdown on a return
Calvin Johnson has one big play for a touchdown but otherwise kept in check
Lions win in OT 20-17.