Welcome back for another week of San Francisco 49ers football! The 49ers are on the road facing the Detroit Lions in their final road game of the season. The game airs on FOX, and kicks off at 10:00 a.m. PT. The announcers will be Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis, with Tony Siragusa on the sideline.
The 49ers head into this game at 4-10, and on a two-game losing streak. They beat the Chicago Bears three weeks ago, only to follow that up with an ugly road loss to the Cleveland Browns, and a tough home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The defense was once again better at home than on the road, containing the Bengals ground game to a certain extent. However, multiple errors on offense cost the team any chance at winning the game. A pair of Vance McDonald dropped passes led to interceptions that resulted in scores, and a Blaine Gabbert interception at the end of the game snuffed out a short-lived comeback.
The Lions enter this game at 5-9, coming off a wild road win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.. The Lions jumped out to a 28-3 third quarter lead, but the Saints would not go down so easily. They cut the lead to 28-20, but their defense folded on the following series, giving up a touchdown. The Saints would cut the lead down to eight again, but it was too late to do anything with it.
Matthew Stafford is on a roll in recent weeks, thanks in part to Jim Bob Cooter's promotion to offensive coordinator. This is partially an excuse to say "Jim Bob Cooter", but also to recognize that Stafford is looking pretty good. Over the last four games, dating back to Thanksgiving, he has completed 70 percent of his passes, for 1,056 yards and 12 touchdowns, with only one interception. Those numbers are kind of ridiculous.
The 49ers enter the game as a 9.5-point underdog. Some sportsbooks have gone as high as 11 points, but 9.5 seems to be the consistent number. I'm not surprised the line has climbed into double digits. The 49ers have been mostly awful on the road. They beat the Chicago Bears and almost beat the New York Giants, but otherwise they have just not been any good away from Levi's Stadium.
There are some aspects of this game that are tough to predict. The 49ers road woes make me want to take the Lions, but Detroit is not a particularly good team. Laying that many points with a bad team is a tough call. The Lions have avoided turnovers lately, but they still rank near the bottom of the league in turnover differential. I'm not expecting a sudden rush of turnovers, but this is a team that has had issues holding onto the ball. The 49ers struggle to actually take advantage of turnovers, but I feel like this could allow the team to remain competitive in the game. A win seems unlikely, but I could see them covering.
And this game gives me that Bears feel for some reason. Stafford is playing better than Jay Cutler was heading into that game, but both are turnover-prone at times. Furthermore, given the effort expended to get that win in New Orleans, could the Lions be a little slow out of the gates two days after Christmas? The 49ers at +9.5 is kind of tempting for one of my SuperContest picks.
Nuts and bolts
49ers injury report
Location: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Game time: Sunday, December 27, 10:00 a.m. PT
TV channel: FOX
Online streaming: NFL Game Pass on replay
49ers Radio: 680-AM, 107.7 (Ted Robinson, Tim Ryan) | Full listings
Announcers: Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Tony Siragusa
Spanish Radio: KTRB 860-AM (Jesus Zarate, Luis Landero)
Odds: 49ers +9.5
Matchup history: 11-3 (including 2-0 in Super Bowls)
Enemy blog: Pride of Detroit
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Week 1: vs. Minnesota Vikings - 49ers 20, Vikings 3
Week 2: @ Pittsburgh Steelers - Steelers 43, 49ers 18
Week 3: @ Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals 47, 49ers 7
Week 4: vs. Green Bay Packers - Packers 17, 49ers 3
Week 5: @ New York Giants Giants 30, 49ers 27
Week 6: vs. Baltimore Ravens - 49ers 25, Ravens 20
Week 7: vs. Seattle Seahawks - Seahawks 20, 49ers 3
Week 8: @ St. Louis Rams - Rams 27, 49ers 6
Week 9: vs. Atlanta Falcons - 49ers 17, Falcons 16
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: @ Seattle Seahawks - Seahawks 29, 49ers 13
Week 12: vs. Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals 19, 49ers 13
Week 13: @ Chicago Bears - 49ers 26, Bears 20
Week 14: @ Cleveland Browns - Browns 24, 49ers 10
Week 15: vs. Cincinnati Bengals - Bengals 24, 49ers 14
Week 16: @ Detroit Lions - Sunday, December 27, 10:00 a.m. FOX
Week 17: vs. St. Louis Rams - Sunday, January 3, 1:25 p.m. FOX