SANTA CLARA -- Sure, the 49ers should cream the Lions.
But funny things happen Week 1. And although the Lions clearly aren't good, the 49ers certainly could beat themselves. The special teams could allow a long punt return, or Jimmy Garoppolo could throw an interception, or Mike McGlinchey could give up a sack that leads to a fumble that gets returned for a touchdown.
Granted, the Lions have a terrible pass rush. Last season, they recorded only 24 sacks -- seventh fewest in the NFL -- but their edge rusher Romeo Okwara had 10 sacks, which means he's a threat. And if the 49ers call lots of passes and give Okwara opportunity after opportunity to rush against McGlinchey, Okwara could flip the game in favor of Detroit.
McGlinchey is the 49ers player the Lions want to isolate and exploit.
That doesn't mean McGlinchey is all bad. He's a good run blocker. And if the 49ers run the ball more than they throw it against Detroit, as they should, then Good McGlinchey could be a reason the 49ers win the game.
But McGlinchey is a bad pass blocker, because he's slow, weak and soft. So if the 49ers have a pass-first game plan, Bad McGlinchey will be their biggest weakness and they'll have to win in spite of him.
The 49ers are built to run the ball. McGlinchey is built to run block. As long as the 49ers stick to their strengths on offense, they should win by two touchdowns.
Don't let Bad McGlinchey lose it.