How the 49ers Already Have Put the Lions in Checkmate

The Lions had to come up with a Trey Lance game plan, even though he might not play.

The game hasn't even started and the Lions are screwed.

They probably couldn't beat the 49ers even if Jimmy Garoppolo were the only quarterback they had to prepare to defend. But this week, the Lions had to come up with a Trey Lance game plan, even though he might not play.

That means they had to spend time deciding which coverages to use when he's on the field, plus they had to spend time practicing how to defend the zone read. Which means they had less opportunities to prepare for Garoppolo's tendecies, and Garoppolo might be the only quarterback they face.

But Lance is the quarterback the Lions fear. He's like the queen on the chessboard. The Lions want to know when the 49ers will bring him out, because he's the most dangerous weapon. And the 49ers might be able to win without using him. But if they do use him, he'll be a game changer.

It's possible the 49ers will insert Lance onto the field just to hand off on a few first and second downs. Meaning he'd be a decoy. But on a crucial 3rd and 1 or 3rd and 2, or an important play in the red zone, look for Kyle Shanahan to call a quarterback run for Lance, and look for him to pick up the game-changing first down or touchdown.

Lance could throw the ball zero times and run it only once against the Lions, and still be the difference in the game. The secret for the 49ers will be to use Lance at the right time, and not waste the surprise on a snap of little consequence.

The Lions are at the 49ers' mercy.

The 49ers will win 27-13.