It’s 15 days until 49ers training camp begins! We want to look at each opponent and provide a reason for and against the 49ers beating them. We’ve included a poll for the community to vote on whether they expect a win or a loss. We’ll see what kind of prediction this provides at the end.
The Detroit Lions are next on the 49ers opponent list and they aren’t near as functional as the Minnesota Vikings. Joe Caldwell was fired in the offseason and replaced with Matt Patricia, former defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.
But don’t sleep on the Lions. They have some pieces that could have them flip a switch at a moment’s notice.
Reason For: The Lions offensive line
I was going to go defense, but the Lions did little to upgrade their offensive line in free agency. While they attempted to fix the backfield with players like LeGarrette Blount, there’s not much he can do when the line can’t open up running lanes and he’s running into 49ers defenders, who got better against the run as 2017 progressed. Furthermore, that line also allowed 47 sacks to Matthew Stafford, 2nd worst in the league. Offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby was taken in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but that single selection isn’t going to fix an offensive line that allowed that many sacks, and helped the running backs get 1,221 rushing yards total. Neither is first round pick Frank Ragnow. Even for the 49ers who have their own pass rush questions, they have to be loving the opportunity here.
Reason Against: Matthew Stafford
Despite taking 47 sacks, Stafford threw only 10 interceptions in 2017, which is almost unfair. Make matters worse, since the Lions running game was non-existent, Stafford went to the air for 4,470 yards passing. Hurries and hits won’t replace sacks, and while the 49ers secondary is new and improved, the extent of which is yet to be determined. The defensive line can generate all sorts of pass rush and hurries, but it’s not going to do anything if Stafford’s receivers can catch the ball. And if the 49ers take away the running game and force the Lions into pass-first mode, the secondary better be ready, because if Stafford gets in rhythm it could be a long day.
If you can’t see the poll, click here.
What will happen in Week 2 against the Lions?
This poll is closed