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49ers vs. Lions: A prospector's guide

We take a look at pertinent facts, figures and history in the Week 16 matchup with the Detroit Lions.

The San Francisco 49ers are on the road on Sunday, facing the Detroit Lions in their final road game of the season. The Week 16 contest kicks off at 10:00 a.m. PT, and will air on FOX. The announcer crew consists of Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis in the booth, and Tony Siragusa on the sideline. It is likely to be a fairly regional broadcast.

The 49ers and Lions are both playing out the string, with draft positioning on the line. The 49ers are 4-10, coming off a 24-14 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Lions are 5-9 following a Monday Night Football win over the New Orleans Saints. The Lions struggled out of the gate, losing five straight and seven of their first eight. They bounced back with three straight wins, including their first road win over Green Bay since the early 90s. They then lost at home to Green Bay and at St. Louis before getting their win over New Orleans.

Turnovers could prove to be the name of the game this week. Both teams are near the bottom of the league in turnover differential, with the 49ers at -3, and the Lions at -10. Matthew Stafford is 4th in the NFL with 13 interceptions. Running back Ameer Abdullah is tied for third in the NFL with four fumbles. He has lost two of them, including one this past week against New Orleans. The 49ers have had good fumble luck, losing only one of two of ten fumbles this year.

One of the big storylines will be how the 49ers defense does on the road. The Jekkyl-and-Hyde unit has been pretty solid at home, and really bad on the road. They did some solid work against the Chicago Bears, but then followed that up with an ugly performance against the Cleveland Browns. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson ran all over them in that game. Can we expect the same from Ameer Abdullah, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick? I don't know for sure, but if you're in your fantasy football championship game, it might be worth starting one of them.

The 49ers opened as an 8.5-point favorite, but the line creeped up a little bit following the Lions win over the Saints. Most lines have the Lions as 9-point favorites, but a couple have gone as high as 10 points. I think the 49ers lose this game, but that's a lot of points for a Lions team that has been really inconsistent. It's tempting to take the Lions given the 49ers road woes, but I wonder if this game ends up similar to the Bears game.

The 49ers are on an adjusted media schedule this week due to Christmas. Blaine Gabbert and Thomas McGaughey met with the beat writers on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Lions media availability will get the morning going. A player still to be determined will talk with 49ers media at 8:40 a.m. PT, followed by Lions head coach Jim Caldwell at 8:55 a.m. Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst and defensive coordinator Eric Mangini will follow at 11:35 a.m.. The team will have player availability from 12:00 to 12:45 p.m., and then practice at 2 p.m. Jim Tomsula will meet with the media on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. Player availability will follow from 12:00 to 12:45, and practice will take place at 2 p.m. There will be no media availability on Friday and Saturday.

Matchups: 65
Series Record: 49ers lead series 37-27-1
49ers Away Record vs. Lions: Lions lead series 17-14
First Meeting: 10/8/50, Lions win 24-7, at Det.
Last Meeting: 9/16/12, 49ers win 27-19, at SF
Current Streak: Won 9
Longest 49ers Win Streak: 9 (12/23/96 - 9/16/12)
Longest Lions Win Streak: 6 (9/23/62 - 12/13/64)
Most 49ers Points: 55 (12/19/93): 49ers win 55-17, at Det. (p)
Most Lions Points: 48 (11/14/54): Lions win 48-7, at Det.
49ers Shutouts: 2 (Last 10/1/61): 49ers win 49-0, at Det.
Lions Shutouts: 1 (11/6/60): Lions win 24-0, at SF

WR Anquan Boldin

  • In 5 career games vs. Det., has registered 28 receptions for 444 yards and 2 TDs.
  • During his NFL debut with the Arizona Cardinals, recorded 10 receptions for a career-high 217 yards and 2 TDs at Det. (9/7/03).

LB NaVorro Bowman

  • Recorded a team-high 14 tackles and 1 PD vs. Det. (9/16/12).
  • Registered a team-high 17 tackles and 1 PD at Det. (10/16/11).

LB Ahmad Brooks

  • Registered 4 tackles and 1.0 sack at Det. (10/16/11).
  • Recorded 2 tackles, 1.0 sack and 2 FF vs. Det. (12/27/09).

2015 Statistics

49ERS (rank) Lions (rank)
4-10 (4th NFCW) Record 5-9 (t-3rd NFCN)
14.4 (32nd) Points per game 21.6 (t-19th)
291.4 (32nd) Total Offense 344.8 (20th)
93.9 (23rd) Rushing Offense 84.4 (31st)
197.5 (30th) Passing Offense 260.4 (9th)
26:25 (31st) Possession Avg 30:37 (13th)
24.2 (18th) Points allowed/gm 25.9 (t-27th)
390.3 (27th) Total Defense 352.1 (18th)
128.6 (27th) Rushing Defense 112.6 (19th)
261.7 (26th) Passing Defense 239.6 (12th)
26 (t-27th) Sacks 35 (t-12th)
44.0 (24th) Punting Avg (Gross) 46.1 (12th)
-3 (22nd) Turnover Differential -10 (29th)