Inside The Knox Score: 49ERS at LIONS

The final game on the 1PM docket is this week’s GAME OF THE WEEK!!!! Two teams who have come out of the gate playing great football. The Lions are undefeated at 5-0 and the SF 49ers who could be 5-0 if not for Tony Romo’s rib-cage bravado comeback in the 4th quarter, sit at 4-1. The line opened at -4.5 for the home team Detroit Lions and hasn’t moved much down to -4, but we know 4 is a key number in football betting circles and the half point causes a lot of bettors to lose money and sleep. The total has also moved from 47 pts down to 46 points. This should be a hotly contested battle. There will be no letdown not in this affair, so let’s get that thought out-of-the-way immediately. These teams have been built differently over the last few years with Detroit spending a lot of first-round picks on Defensive Line studs and the Niners selecting their early picks with Offensive Line studs. This is where the game will be won, in the trenches.


SF is 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games as an underdog of -3.5 points or more. They are 5-0-1 in their last 6 games and 4-0-1 in their last 5 games ATS vs the NFC. On the downside of the trend they are only 1-6-1 ATS on the road against a team with a winning home record. The Lions are 5-0-1 in their last 6 games as a favorite, 5-0 in their last 5 home games, and a whopping 10-0-1 in their last eleven games ATS following a straight-up victory.

Niners Offense vs Lions Defense

As was noted above the D-Line of the Lions is filled with young studs, namely Suh, Vanden Bosch, Avril and Williams, not to mention their leading tackler DeAndry Levy at linebacker. This unit can cause fits for QBs and rush the passer with the best of them. They, like most defenses have areas of weakness, such as runs up the middle or screen plays. These ar things the Niners do exceptionally well with Frank Gore and Harbaugh’s play-calling schemes. The Niners also have bevy of young studs on the offensive line to help offset the Lions fearsome-foursome. 2010 draftees Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis have helped solidify what was a very weak O-Line n past years. Now with more time under their belts, some solid play-calling and Alex Smith’s ability to stay a bit more calm in the pocket, things are settling in nicely. The Niners do lean on Frank Gore rather heavily and need to get Michael Crabtree and V. Davis in the game-plan a bit more to keep the Lions defense at bay. Expect a lot of bubble-screens, some two TE formations to protect Smith and some delayed draws when the inside gaps are opened.

Lions Offense vs Niners Defense

Javhid Best finally broke one open as I predicted last week against an over aggressive pass rush. Don’t expect that lightning to strike twice in this game as the Niners are 4th in the league in rushing defense. Other than C. Rogers in the secondary, SF is susceptible to some big plays and with Megatron across the field this match-up could be a nightmare for SF. Stafford is playing great football to complete this tandem with a passer rating of 101.4 a TD/INT ratio of 13/4 and 1436 yds of passing. He also has a nice complement at TE with B. Pettigrew and could break free for a big game against a pass defense that gives up 264 yds/gm. Expect Calvin Johnson to get his usual 5-6 receptions and the ball to be in the air a lot.

Fantasy & Game Predictions

How can San Francisco win this game? Ball control is the only way I see it happening. Frank Gore and the offensive line must have a big game. Big enough to pull off numbers like 120 yds rushing and 80 yds receiving. Not inconceivable against a team on short rest. If they can establish Gore early and Davis over the middle, then Ginn and Crabtree will have a shot here and there deep. Watching Megatron play football is similar to watching Shaq in his prime in the NBA. Too big, too strong to contain him. He will get his TDs, 2 of them precisely, but will they have enough balance to win this game outright. These teams are pretty evenly matched, so special teams may have a lot to do with it. The short rest for Detroit is offset by the early time of the game and cross-coast travelling for SF.  If this game were in SF I’d be leaning their way in this game, but Detroit is buzzing with sports enthusiasm, the crowd will be hyped and the Lions will stay undefeated in a close game.

Pick: Lions win 21-17 in a push on the points and under the total of 46.

You can follow JB Knox on twitter @theknoxscore

6 Responses to “Inside The Knox Score: 49ERS at LIONS”
  1. I agree, this is the game of the week. And I think these are two of the best teams in the NFC along with Green Bay. I think it will definitely be a close game but I might take SF in this one even though I’d love to see Detroit win it all! I think SF is the best team Detroit has faced. They are fundamentally sound. They run the ball well, they stop the run, tough D and they don’t seem to turn the ball over. I like your score but with SF winning (though I’m routing for Detroit!).

  2. J.B. Knox says:

    Funny you say that Mike as I am rooting for the Niners yet I picked the Lions to win. If it’s close and I think it will be, then Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford are my picks to pull it out at home. Alex Smith may not be ready for the big time win just yet. He had a great comeback against the Eagles, but Philly is a mess and he struggled to pull it out vs Cowboys in early in the season. In fact he folded in the 2nd half as the game got close. Since the moment I watched the Lions dismantle the Pats in pre-season I’ve thought like you they were the real deal. Didn’t think they’d be 5-0, but glad we were on it early in the season. Imagine if the rookie Farley wasn’t hurt as well. Future looks bright for both teams

  3. IanBlanchard says:

    I heard nothing of my man, FRANK GORE. The Niners have been terrible for a while now, and the lions… even worse. The fact that we are even talking about these teams being contenders is pretty amazing. Detroit looks good, but I like the Niners in this one.

  4. Dave says:

    Hoping the Lions can get the offense going. Not sure if the Lions are out of sync, or if the 49er’s D is stepping up. Either way, my fantasy team would like Stafford and Megatron to hook up a little more.

  5. J.B. Knox says:

    What an amazing game and finish to this game!!! Big win for the Niners. Was pulling for them in this game, but picked with my head instead of my heart. My heart’s feeling scared me outta that pick, lol. This is why it was the Game of The Week

  6. IanBlanchard says:

    called eem

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