Here's what three All49ers writers think will go down Sunday when the 49ers play the Detroit Lions.
It is a tricky matchup. The Detroit Lions are starting at home without anything to lose. Historically, Kyle Shanahan does not begin well during Week 1. But the 49ers will win this game given their preparation and almost going unscathed without injuries to significant players during training camp. The defense should dominate the Lions and bring up a few scars from the Rams days to quarterback Jared Goff.
The offense can rely on the run game with reinforcements brought in. The primary goal should be to come out victorious while avoiding unnecessary injuries. Jimmy Garoppolo has the chance to cement his place with a strong performance against a team that is rebuilding.
Final prediction: 24 - 16 49ers win
Although the Lions have a new coaching staff and the advantage of the unknown, it won’t matter much. The 49ers will overpower the Lions and completely dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The 49ers will throw only about 22 passes and will dominate on the ground to the tune of 220-plus rushing yards. Raheem Mostert will rush for 120 yards in three quarters and Trey Sermon will finish out the game in the fourth.
Look for the 49ers defensive line to get pressure with four rushers all day. The 49ers defensive ends will be a nightmare for offensive tackle Penei Sewell and quarterback Jared Goff. A long kick or punt return will give the Lions good field position in which they will score their lone touchdown but aside from that will be ineffective against a strong 49ers defense.
Final Prediction: The 49ers will cruise to a victory, 34-13.
Avoid the trap game is the theme for a Week 1 win on the road in Detroit. Stay with me, as I explain. Regardless of the opponent, new coaching staff, and the unknowns, the 49ers need to play clean football, set the tone, and jump out on Detroit early and often. That said, to quote the famous line from Beverly Hills cop, let’s hope the 49ers don’t “fall for a banana in the tailpipe” by being too overconfident, thus playing down to the level of competition.
Strategic rotation of the running backs and defensive line will bode well for the 49ers, along with a solid game by Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. So long as the offensive line holds up in both pass protection and the run game, the defense/pass rush will do the rest, dominating the Lions providing either quarterback and the offense with short fields and ample opportunities to light up the scoreboard.
Final prediction: 49ers 37 Lions 17