The San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions square off on Sunday in a matchup of two teams looking to bounce back from Week 1. The 49ers hung close late with Minnesota, but made too many mistakes. The Lions looked like they were going to run away with things after a first play pick six, and then it all went south in a hurry.
I took some time this week to chat with Chris Perfett from Pride of Detroit, and we took a different look at this matchup. We each wrote up a couple reasons why we thought our team would win or lose. I’ll drop their post in when it’s complete, but for now, here is what they had to say about the Lions, both good and bad.
Why the Lions will lose
This team looked inept on Monday night - not to mention an entire preseason of football - in ways that cannot be easily fixed within the course of six days. I don’t suspect Matthew Stafford will get picked off four more times, but I do suspect there will still remain trouble on the offense as the line tries to work together without T.J. Lang and Stafford struggles against his usual historically slow starts. Without much of a ground game to show, the charity ball once more falls on Stafford’s big square head, and if he can’t at least find Kenny Golladay or a Texas bro thermos full of Jack then we’re in for rough sailing off Galveston. He has more weapons than a Walmart hunting department but it all means nothing if his head is twisted and his line can’t keep him propped up. The absolute apocalypse scenario, rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem, is if 49er linemen start calling out the plays before they happen.
The defense is doomed to potentially make Garoppolo, that sweet Italian boy, look like he didn’t just spend last week getting pushed around by a Vikings defense full of thieved lunch money and adolescent testosterone. No sir, the Lions defense is a nice hearty chicken soup, and if you ask nicely it might hold the Ezekiel Ansah. He was the only defender who looked competent going out there. My editor, Jeremy, tells me the linebackers played “okay” but I refuse to believe him and there’s plenty of room for disaster here. As long as Darius Slay is contained, the backfield poses no few problems; as long as the 49ers know they can run the football, the line won’t be able to help but give up four yards each time. Overall this Lions defense continues to hold to the old adage of “bend don’t break” but they just like to break so damn much every now and then.
Why the Lions will win
I don’t know, maybe Matt Patricia took them all to boot camp and got them strung out, spun on stevia and weed and extracts of pineal glands. Maybe they’ve all uncorked their third eyes and they’re mental behemoths, psychic monsters capable of working together as a collective hivemind of sport and legalized half-murder. Maybe that self-same metamorphosis has allowed them to forget what they’ve been doing for the past five weeks, at least, and operate as a professional football team and not the B squad at Wayne State. Of course, at that point we have to start thinking about what they would do to the rest of the Bay Area, Elon Musk and every other fascist libertarian nerd living in San Francisco, rather than just what happens in Santa Clara on a gridiron. Maybe the rent will go down once they’re done.
It would take a Christmas miracle or hitherto unseen competence to turn this around, and if it’s the latter then I want to know why it took so long to get out to show us the goods. A winning game probably means that Stafford has a whale of a day, Garoppolo can’t tell the DBs apart and just throws towards Darius Slay 20 times and maybe that waiver pickup of Romeo Okwara actually turns out some sacks on Jimmy boy. Spreading the ball around might be useful too. Ezekiel Ansah playing healthy might provide the pressure needed to stopper up this 49ers offense.
I’m having fun though. Don’t let the prose tell you otherwise.