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Lions vs 49ers Pregame

The Detroit Lions go on the road in the 2nd week of the season and will face the San Francisco 49ers at 8:20 PM on Sunday Night Football. And this could get interesting!

Jim Schwartz will tell us the "Hand Shake" from last year is over and done and has no part in this game. The players will say that it means nothing to them this week. Don't you believe it! Schwartz is a fiery guy and has a lot of pride. He was bothered by the way Jim Harbaugh shoved him out of the way at the end of the game last year. There is no way anyone can tell me that Schwartz was not upset over losing to them and that rough dismissal by Harbaugh was seen as rubbing salt in the wounds. What Harbaugh did was unsportssman like, unprofessional, and uncalled for. And Jim Schwartz remembers it clearly.

Some are sick of hearing about the handshake. I see it differently. I see it as the beginning to a beautiful rivalry. And lets face the facts. There is nothing more sacred in sports than a good old fashion rivalry! If it is a rivalry you want, then there is one thing that will feed it beyond any article we write. A Lions victory would fuel it more than anything else. If the 49ers win, they will have won two games in a row and would easily be able to dismiss the Lions as worthy rivals. The Lions fans would hate the 49ers for beating them twice in a row, but it takes two to have a good rivalry. I Lions victory however, would be like a little payback medicine and both teams would be even in the matches. They would be even because the games between the two teams would not count from years before. They werent played between these two coaches.  But the big question is, how can the Lions beat the 49ers?

A tough question. The Lions lost last years match-upin Detroit. This year they play in San Francisco. This has to be an advantage for the 49ers. In the off-season it has been very debatable whether the Lions have improved or gotten worse as they only added depth and watched their secondary get worse. There is no doubt the 49ers have gotten stronger by adding good players and filling holes. The 49ers beat the Packers last week while the Lions barely escaped with a win against the lowly Rams!  All strong points for why the Lions cant beat the 49ers this coming Sunday night! But as they say... "That is why they play the game!" Because however sure you are the Lions will lose to the 49ers, there are actually reasons to believe the Lions can win!

The Lions offense has gotten better! Forget the three picks by Stafford in the first half last week. Stuff happens and that was one of those things you wont see repeated very often. Stafford is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and he has one of the best receivers in the history of the game to throw the ball to. Toss in the likes of Burleson, Young, Broyles, and Pettigrew and the Lions receiving core is about as good as it gets.  Where they have improved however, is the running game. The Lions have actually shown they can run block some. Personally I think it was a bad case of bad D-line that allowed the Lions to run the ball, but it doesnt matter. The fact is, the Lions ran the ball last week, and that means the 49ers defense will have to show it some respect.

More importantly, the reason the Lions can win this game is not the great offense they have, but on the defensive side of the ball. Everyone knows the Lions weakness is in their secondary. A good QB with good WR's will destroy them this year. Thankfully the 49ers do not have the good quarterback. Even if you are a 49ers fan, you have to admit that the 49ers dont look to beat teams with their great passing game. They look to win games with their great defense and their running game! Against the Packers, the 49ers ran the ball 32 times and passed it only 26 times. That plays right into the Lions hands.

Frank Gore ran mad on the Lions in 2011, but Detroit has made some adjustments since then. Last week against the Rams, the Lions never allowed Steven Jackson to break free as they kept him contained all game. They are better against the run this year and Gore will not have the kind of game he had last year. The Lions will force the 49ers to air it out if they want to move the ball. This does two things.

One- It means the Lions terrible secondary will have to play well to keep the 49ers from taking advantage of them. That might be asking a lot.

Two- It means the Lions will come hard after Alex Smith. And this year, Smith will not be facing a team with players like Suh struggling to keep his head on straight, or Fairley hampered by injury. Smith will face a tougher pass rush than last year.

So the question really comes down to this. Who has the better advantage. Alex Smith over the Lions secondary, or Stafford and company over the 49ers secondary? And that my friends is a much closer match than most might be willing to give the Lions credit for.

Do I believe the Lions will win? Honestly? No! But I believe they can win and for these exact reasons. This game is no sure win for the 49ers. It should be a much closer match-up than expected. It might end up being the Lions biggest victory this year.

Lions 27
49ers 30

But don't bet on that!

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