NFC Championship Game: 3 bold predictions for Lions vs. 49ers

There's only one game separating the 49ers and the Lions from the Super Bowl. Here are three bold predictions for what to expect from Sunday's game.

Do Brock Purdy and the Niners have what it takes to get to the Super Bowl?
Do Brock Purdy and the Niners have what it takes to get to the Super Bowl? / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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Brock Purdy silences the doubters

It's amazing what the 24/7 news cycle does to people. We find an underdog, we root for them to reach the top, and then we love to tear them down. Brock Purdy should be one of the greatest stories in NFL history: A Mr. Irrelevant who quickly wrested control of his new team from the third overall pick in the draft, piloting them to back-to-back NFC Championship Game appearances in his first two seasons.

Instead, Purdy has been picked apart by the daily talk show hosts of the world. Analysts on every network have spent countless hours debating if Purdy is just a product of Kyle Shanahan's quarterback-friendly system, if he's only successful because of the talent around him, or if he's any good at all. This is why we can't have nice things, people.

Purdy didn't get the chance to prove himself in last year's NFC Championship, as he suffered an elbow injury in the first quarter that prevented him from throwing the ball at all. Without him, the Niners were no match for the Eagles, which should have proved Purdy's value.

Undeterred, Purdy guided his team back to the top of the NFC this season, inserting himself into the MVP conversation in the process. This was a bridge too far for the hot take artists out there, as they used Purdy's MVP candidacy as yet another excuse to smear him.

The fact is, Purdy is damn good, and I expect him to show it on Sunday. He overcame a slow start against the Packers to lead the Niners on a game-winning touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. C.J. Stroud didn't do that. Dak Prescott didn't do that. Neither did Tua Tagovailoa, Baker Mayfield, or Jalen Hurts.

Purdy is here for a reason, and the Niners wouldn't be where they are without him. Aidan Hutchinson and the Lions' defense have upped their game in the playoffs, but I'm expecting a monster game from the underappreciated quarterback when it matters most, something in the neighborhood of 300 yards and three touchdowns. Let's see how they try to tear him down after this.