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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The Niners win big

San Francisco believes they were the better team in last year's NFC Championship, but Purdy's injury robbed them of their chance to prove it. The Niners have been a team on a mission all year, and their hard work has been rewarded with a home game that could send them to the Super Bowl.

There are some things that could point to a Lions upset, or at least to a close game that comes down to the fourth quarter. Detroit is 7-2 against the spread on the road, while San Francisco is 3-6 against the spread at home. The Lions fended off the Rams, one of the hottest teams in the league, in Round 1, then handled the Bucs a week after Tampa dismantled the Eagles.

The Niners were lucky to escape their game against the Packers, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. After such a close brush with elimination, Kyle Shanahan will learn his lesson and let it fly with the arsenal of weapons at his disposal. Deebo Samuel's status is still up in the air, but Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle should still be more than enough to light up the scoreboard.

Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Jahmyr Gibbs will move the ball, but the Niners have the better red zone defense. San Francisco ranks 12th in the league in preventing touchdowns inside the 20, while the Lions allow a touchdown on nearly 2/3 of their opponents' red zone possessions, a mark that relegates them to 29th in the league.

The benefit the Lions have received from playing their last two games in front of a raucous Ford Field crowd is difficult to quantify. It clearly made a big difference, though, and it's an edge they won't have on Sunday. Detroit has outperformed every expectation placed on them this year, and they should be incredibly proud of the season they've had. Even better, they look to be built to last. This is where their dream journey ends, though.

Few teams that burst onto the scene go all the way in their first chance on the game's biggest stage. The Niners have been in the last two NFC Championships, and they'll use that experience to overwhelm the Lions and get to the Super Bowl. Vegas has the spread as 49ers -7. As much as I'd like to see a close game, I'm going 49ers 38, Lions 20.

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