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NFC Championship Game: 49ers’ 5 Keys to Victory vs. Lions

Jan 27, 2024 at 8:05 AM

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The NFC Championship is here, and the San Francisco 49ers are set to host the Detroit Lions in an epic showdown between the best of the NFC West and the NFC North. This game marks the 49ers' 19th NFC Championship Game appearance, while the Lions make their first since 1991.

If the 49ers look to advance to Super Bowl LVIII, they must stick to the "Keys to Victory."

Stop The Run

The 49ers must stop the run on the inside and the outside. The Detroit Lions will look to set the tone with their two-headed monsters, David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs. The 49ers run defense needs to be strong, especially in the interior. Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead must find a way to take on Detroit's offensive so that Fred Warner and the crew can plug the gaps and make the tackles.

If the 49ers stop the run, this will eliminate the play-action pass and force Jared Goff to throw at a high volume. Stopping the run helps the 49ers head to Super Bowl LVIII.

Limit the Explosives

The 49ers gave up numerous explosive plays to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, both on the ground and in the air. The Lions will look to get explosive plays from some of their playmakers, such as tight end Sam LaPorta, Gibbs, Montgomery, and wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds, and Jameson Williams.

The 49ers must be ready to react to the screens and quick throws from quarterback Jared Goff. Goff is the number-one quarterback in checkdowns this season. 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw will have his hands full with Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs out of the backfield.

If the 49ers limit the explosive plays, they will be victorious and headed to Super Bowl LVIII.

Run The Ball

The Lions' run defense ranked number two at the end of the 2023 season, allowing 88.8 per game. They will look to take away one of the 49ers' strengths, running back Christian McCaffrey. With Deebo Samuel full-go in this game, the 49ers must find a way to run the ball consistently and effectively. Expect Deebo Samuel to stretch the field horizontally in the run game as well as in the screen game.

McCaffrey should not be misused in the game. He shouldn't see less than 20 carries. Running the ball will allow the 49ers to control the clock and, more importantly, set up for a play-action pass. If the 49ers want to head to Super Bowl LVIII, they must establish the run.

Attack The Secondary

The Lions' defense ranked 27th in passing, allowing 247.4 yards per game. It plays a lot of man coverage and is pretty weak on the outside. The Lions also run a lot of three-safety sets.

With their aggressive blitzing, expect 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy to quickly get the ball out of hands. Purdy is one of the top quarterbacks against the blitz. If the 49ers look to attack the secondary, they head to Super Bowl LVIII.

Be Aggressive

The 49ers must set the tone early in this matchup. Never take the foot off the gas, both offensively and defensively. It's win or go home. Offensively, head coach Kyle Shanahan must be aggressive with the play calling. Calling the football game conservative could send the 49ers home this weekend. Expect an aggressive run and air attack led by Brock Purdy.

Defensively, coordinator Steve Wilks will need to get his defense to generate pressures and hit the quarterback. Expect Wilks to blitz to throw off Goff's timing and rhythm. If the play calling is aggressive, the players will play on edge.

With all the media pundits slandering Purdy, expect the 49ers to come up swinging. If the 49ers are the more aggressive team, they head to Super Bowl LVIII.

In conclusion, the Lions present a formidable challenge, aiming for their first Super Bowl appearance. The 49ers face a tough battle, but adhering to these "Keys to Victory" will be instrumental in securing their place in Super Bowl LVIII.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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