The Niners are entering Week 2 with their heads held high. To kick off this NFL season, San Francisco came up with a statement win over the Green Bay Packers on the road. The 49ers will be returning home to Candlestick in which they will host the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football.
A title contender and representative of the NFC North, the Lions bring a lot of firepower on offense.
The Achilles for this team, however, has been on defensive side of the ball -- as we've been able to see from the number of comebacks Matt Stafford has been asked to engineer. The Lions have had difficulty securing leads, and constantly find themselves throwing the football.
With the upcoming match-up on Sunday night, the 49ers are looking to exploit the weaknesses of the Detroit defense. In this piece, we'll breakdown where the 49ers have an edge of the visiting Lions.
First of all, it's important to mention Detroit's defensive line in their 4-3. Cliff Avril, Ndamukong Suh, Cory Williams and Kyle Vanden Bosch makeup a pretty tenacious front four. All four of these guys can apply pressure and stop the run -- and normally, they are able to rotate Nick Fairley in.
Though, Detroit has serious concerns on the backend.
Their starting cornerbacks in 2012 are Chris Houston and Bill Bentley. Houston is listed as questionable, and as you can imagine, the players providing depth behind them aren't much better.
Tre's note: Bentley suffered a concussion vs. the Rams in week 1, per Pride of Detroit. He's no lock to start this week's game in SF, yet.
The Lions might also be missing their free safety, Louis Delmas, who is questionable with a knee injury. Both Delmas and Houston missed Week 1 against the St. Louis Rams and Jim Schwartz has not indicated whether or not they will be ready to go this weekend.
Even though it was an apparent team concern stemming from last year, the Lions failed to make significant upgrades to the secondary in the offseason. If Detroit had gotten themselves a top-end corner via free agency or before the third round, they might have been a favorite to win the NFC.
Bentley, their rookie third-rounder from Louisiana-Lafayette, has been depended to contribute early. And much like the 49ers took advantage of cornerback Jarrett Bush against Green Bay, Alex Smith can go after Bentley in Week 2.
Last season, Detroit was ranked 24th in 2011 in passing touchdowns allowed per game (via Team Rankings). They allowed the 6th most points to wide receivers in 2011 and were 28th overall against the pass. Their weakness is as clear as day.
Luckily for San Francisco, the 49ers broke out their new-look off this pas weekend and it looked great. The Niners put together 5 consecutive scoring drives at point as they put up 30 points on the Pack at Lambeau. With the depth and talent on the offensive side of the football, it is perhaps the most versatile offense in the league.
They've enabled themselves to strike up a perfect balance between run and pass, being efficient at both. It makes it really hard for teams to defend since they can push the ball down field through the air or pound it on the ground. The ability to do both keeps defenses on their toes, making the plays more effective because defenses can't defend heavily against one or the other.
The last time these two teams faced off, it was San Francisco's run game that really stood out. In their second meeting in as many years, it will be the Niners passing attack that wins this game.
San Francisco now has a top receiving corps with more offensive weapons than they know what to do with. The 49ers didn't even need their 2012 first round wide receiver to step on the field to bring home a win in their last game. The wide receivers are drastically better. The stable primarily features Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams.
The talent throughout this position group clearly outweighs the challenge, or lack thereof, that Detroit brings with it's secondary. The 49ers No. 1 vs. the Lions No. 1 should be a mismatch, but when you get down to the third and fourth receivers, Alex Smith could really have an opportunity to gash the defense.
And I know he didn't see much action against Green Bay, but I would not be surprised if Mario Manningham played a significant role against Detroit; Kyle Williams as well.
In Week 1, the 49ers showed they could be proficient passing the football under pressure, so I have confidence they can get it done against the Lions. With the versatility and talent at the position, the routes and thus the playbook has expanded, enabling the Niners to do new things and be more creative.
And honestly, Moss could absorb Detroit's two best corners simultaneously all day and still be productive. It's going to be the 49ers receivers all day against this weak Lions secondary, so expect a strong performance by Alex Smith.
Check out the functionality of the 49ers offense in this Week 1 video recap, courtesy of NFL Network