And then there are three quarterbacks in the postseason and Brock Purdy.
The San Francisco 49ers are once again back in the NFC Championship game. This year it’s the Detroit Lions standing in their way to a Super Bowl. The 49ers haven’t played an NFC Championship with home field advantage since 2019-2020 season. This also was the last time the 49ers went to the Super Bowl. This will be second game on Sunday and the FOX crew will be covering it. Kevin Burkhardt has the play-by-play and Greg Olsen has commentary.
The 49ers have secured home field advantage for their third straight NFC Championship Game appearance. This has been the end of the line for the last two years. First a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and then last year with Christian McCaffrey playing quarterback against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 49ers came into 2023 being considered the best team in the NFL and lived up to that monikor...at times. A head scratching skid and a Christmas loss to the Ravens challenged that notion. Furthermore the 49ers have not looked like themselves in recent weeks going into the postseason. Is it the rust from the bye? The league catching up?
One thing that has impressed is quarterback Brock Purdy. While it wasn’t a pretty game last week against the Green Bay Packers, and the 49ers didn’t make it any easier for him with their lack of adjustments in the rain or Deebo Samuel getting injured, he managed to put together an impressive final drive to secure victory. Things were capped off with a Dre Greenlaw interception. The 49ers will need to play much better this weekend to beat the Lions, and there are no more excuses for them not winning the NFC Championship and advancing.
Under head coach Dan Campbell, the Lions have had their most successful season in decades. They’ve hit on several draft picks and revitalized Jared Goff in their offense. Detroit has one of the better offenses in the league, their defense is the opposite—especially the pass game. The Lions started the season beating up on the Kansas City Chiefs—in Kansas City—and haven’t looked back.
One of the key points for the 49ers will be Campbell’s aggression and frequency of going for it for it on 4th down. If the 49ers defense under Steve Wilks can make some key 4th down stops, they can take this one early. If they let the Lions convert, this could be a nail biter.
The 49ers have a clean injury report, which is a rarity in these parts. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel had what he described as a bruise to his shoulder, but was removed from the practice report Friday. He was seen lifting his arm which is huge. Linebacker Oren Burks is questionable with a shoulder injury. Defensive tackle Kalia Davis is questionable with an ankle injury.
The Lions got a bit banged up last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Lions ruled out left guard Jonah Jackson with a knee injury. Center Frank Ragnow is not listed on the injury report and practiced in full on Friday. Tight end Sam LaPorta is also off the injury report and expected to play. Also, reports indicated recently acquired tight end Zach Ertz will not be suiting up for the NFCCG.
The 49ers opened up as 6.5-point favorites when the Lions took down the Buccaneers. The line went up to 7.5 through the week and as of this writing on Saturday morning, is settling on 7 points. I thought with the Deebo news and the Lions losing their starting left guard it might swing the number on that alone. It turns out there’s just an awful lot of money going onto the 49ers.
Date: Sunday, January 28th, 2024
Kickoff: 3:30 PM PST, 6:30 PM EST
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara CA
Play-by-Play: Kevin Burkhardt
Color Analyst: Greg Olsen