After both teams prevailed in difficult Divisional round games, the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions will battle for the NFC crown in the Bay Area on Sunday night.
Detroit edged the Los Angeles Rams, 24-23, in their Wild Card game before beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-23, to set up an NFC Championship clash with the juggernaut 49ers.
San Francisco earned a first-round bye as a result of being the NFC's top seed, then won their Divisional round matchup against the Green Bay Packers, 24-21, at a rainy Levi's Stadium.
Let's get into this all-important clash.
|Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
|6:30 PM ET, Saturday, January 20
|How to watch
Lions +7 (-115)
This NFC Championship game represents a classic case of the underdog versus the favorite.
The San Francisco 49ers are in their fourth conference title matchup in the last five years, while the Lions have just won multiple playoff games in the same postseason for the first time since 1957. Detroit is one of just four teams to never reach the championship game since the NFL's revamp of the playoff system in 1966.
It would be a major upset to see them do so, considering the postseason pedigree of both teams. But the Lions of this season have found success.
They will also fancy their chances after watching Brock Purdy's performance against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional round.
The 49ers quarterback has been plagued by accusations that he is not an MVP-level talent throughout the season, and there were question marks resulting from his performance against Green Bay.
Before the game-winning drive, Purdy did not look like his best self and he only managed a quarterback rating of 86.7 despite orchestrating the narrow victory.
The Lions should also be able to take advantage of San Francisco's slight weakness against the run. Detroit has a potent two-pronged attack in the shape of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs, who combined for 114 rushing yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Lions are the sixth-most efficient running team in the league by estimated points added per play and they can show that in San Francisco. And if Detroit's sometimes shaky pass defense can hold up, they can disrupt Purdy's rhythm and make this a real test for the NFC's top-seeded team.
The Lions have been underdogs all season but will relish that title and look likely to keep this to a close-fought contest.
Over 51.0 points (-110)
This matchup sees the two teams who entered the playoffs in the top three for NFL offenses, and there are enough stars on either side of the ball to see this being a high-scoring matchup.
Jahmyr Gibbs and Amon-Ra St Brown are explosive stars in the Lions' offense, and Jared Goff is experiencing a real career renaissance.
The former Rams quarterback had 287 passing yards and two touchdown passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional round, and his team's powerful running game means there is less focus on him.
Meanwhile, San Francisco has been one of the strongest offenses in the NFL all season. It's impossible to ignore Christian McCaffery and his 23 total touchdowns on the year (16 rushing, 7 receiving).
While the 49ers are elite on defense, there is plenty to suggest this is going to be a high-scoring matchup. With bad weather unlikely to be a factor this weekend in California, the over looks the way to play this.
David Montgomery over 45.5 rushing yards (-110)
Clearly the key to the Detroit Lions' success in this year's NFC Championship game will come through their running game.
They are a run-first team with an impressive duo of David Montgomery and Jamhyr Gibbs in the back field.
While Gibbs has received plenty of plaudits in his impressive rookie season, the Lions will get nowhere without the hard yards of Montgomery.
The 26-year-old had over 1,000 yards rushing in the regular season and has gone over 45.5 yards in nine of his last 11 games. Expect him to go over that total once again on Sunday.
LB Alex Anzalone – questionable (shoulder, ribs)
WR Kalif Raymond – questionable
LB James Houston – questionable
G Jonah Jackson – doubtful (knee)
C Frank Ragnow – questionable (knee)
TE Brock Wright – doubtful (arm)
WR Deebo Samuel – questionable (shoulder)
The over is 9-5 in Detroit's 14 games against NFC opposition this season. The Lions ranked 30th in EPA allowed per opposing dropback entering Sunday.
Detroit only throw deep 7% of the time, which may potentially mitigate the 49ers' strength at defending the deep ball, they are third in EPA per play allowed on attempts of 20 or more passing yards.
This matchup also features Detroit's high-level running game - first in rushing touchdowns and fifth in rushing yards - against San Francisco's middle-of-the-pack rush defense that allowed 4.1 yards per carry.
The Niners have allowed 100 rushing yards or more in seven different games this season, including last weekend against the Packers.
On the flip side, the Lions have one of the league's 10 worst pass defenses while the 49ers' passing offense is among the NFL's five best. San Francisco scored the second-most touchdowns through the air, while Detroit's defense was 27th-best in passing touchdowns allowed.
|Lions overall wins
|49ers overall wins
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.