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49ers-Lions Red Zone Preview

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Fooch's Note: Don't forget to check out today's thread for the 3 bowl games.

This post is sponsored by Comcast and their NFL RedZone channel.  If you want to see every touchdown from every NFL game as it happens as well as live look-ins to all of Sunday's games in key situations hurry up and get yourself Comcast's NFL RedZone Channel.

Last week the 49ers struggled in their red zone defense, giving up three touchdowns and two field goals in five possessions.  The Eagles had their way with the 49ers in such situations.  On offense the 49ers managed a touchdown and field goal in a game that saw an assortment of woes brought to the forefront.

Unfortunately I don't have the 49ers red zone basic numbers in front of me.  Football Outsiders ranks them quite high on both offense and defense.  The 49ers are ranked 6th on offense (Rush: 9, Pass: 10) and 3rd on defense (Rush 23, Pass: 1).  They face a Lions team this week that is on the other end of the spectrum.  The Lions red zone offense ranks 30th (Rush: 21, Pass: 29), while their red zone defense ranks 22nd (Rush: 24, Pass: 18).

Overall the Lions defense has certainly had its share of struggles, even as a guy like Louis Delmas continues to emerge.  The Lions 31st on defense and dead last against the pass.  If Alex Smith was going to have a huge statistical game, this would seem to be his best opportunity.  He's playing at home against an awful pass defense.  Detroit struggles across the board.  Their defense is 26th in interceptions, 29th in sacks, and generally just not very good.  If Smith can avoid stupid mistakes, he has a chance to make a statement.

Some may argue that there is no value in what he does these last two games.  I would argue otherwise.  Of course, a team can learn a lot about their quarterback when faces good defenses.  However, it's also valuable to see if he can handle his business when it's expected.  Smith should be expected to perform well and now we get to see if he can back that up with a strong performance.