The NFL is back for the business end of the season as the San Francisco 49ers host the on the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium.
The 49ers finished top of the NFC West after an excellent season saw them finish with a 12-5 record, while the Lions finished in first place in the NFC North with a 12-5 record of their own.
We’ll take a look at the match-up and provide you with our best free NFL betting picks to see if we can earn you some extra cash while you take in the action on the field.
The 49ers started their season in sensational form with five straight victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers (30-7), LA Rams (30-23), New York Giants (30-12), Arizona Cardinals (35-16) and Dallas Cowboys (42-10).
But something seemed to change and San Francisco fell to three consecutive defeats as the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals before they had a bye week to recharge and reset.
They followed that up with six wins in a row by defeating Jacksonville Jaguars (34-3), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (27-14) and Seattle Seahawks (31-13), Philadelphia Eagles (42-19), Seattle Seahawks again (28-16) and Arizona again (45-29) before their streak was snapped by the Baltimore Ravens.
A dominant 27-10 win over the Washington Commanders followed before defeat to the Los Angeles Rams (21-20) saw them end the campaign with a defeat, although they had already earned a first-round bye in the playoffs by that point.
In the divisional round they took on the Green Bay Packers and claimed a strong 24-21 win to earn their place in the NFC Championship game.
Detroit have had a magnificent season so far, starting their campaign with a shock win over reigning champions Kansas City Chiefs. They followed that up with an overtime defeat in week 2 against Seattle Seahawks, before a mightily impressive four-game winning streak followed.
The Lions beat the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers consecutively before suffering a one-sided defeat to the Baltimore Ravens in week 7.
They bounced back quickly with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders in their next game before a bye week, and returned to action with consecutive wins over the Los Angeles Chargers and a 31-26 win over the Chicago Bears.
The Packers then claimed revenge for their loss earlier in the season with a 29-22 win in week 12, before a solid 33-28 win over the New Orleans Saints helped get them back on track. They then suffered a 28-13 loss to the Chicago Bears, before back-to-back wins over the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings next.
A 19-20 defeat to the Dallas Cowboy followed before they finished the regular season with a 30-20 win over the Vikings once more to set up a Wildcard round clash with the Los Angeles Rams, where they claimed a 24-23 victory.
Last time out they dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round to set this game up.
The Lions have had a great run but it seems likely that it comes to an end here, as they simply do not have enough defense to slow down all the 49ers’ weapons around Brock Purdy.
Jared Goff will be under more duress all game with his backs being less of a factor than Christian McCaffrey will. Aiyuk and Kittle also will explode for bigger games than St. Brown and LaPorta.
San Francisco is known for its offensive brilliance under Kyle Shanahan, and the 49ers were productive across the board during the regular season. That offensive effectiveness helped the 49ers to out-score opponents by more than 10 points per game, and San Francisco is capable of exploding on offense at any moment, particularly with All-Pro running back McCaffrey as the team’s fulcrum on the ground.
In addition to the offense, however, San Francisco sports the better defense in this matchup by a clear statistical margin. Back them to maintain their averages and get a big win.
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Both teams are led by stellar quarterbacks. Purdy paced the league in numerous passing categories this year, including touchdown percentage (7.0%), passing yards per attempt (9.6) and QBR (72.8). Meanwhile, Goff ranked second in passing yards (4,575), fourth in passing touchdowns (30) and ninth in passer rating (97.9).
The Lions ranked fifth in scoring and third in yardage this year. Including the playoffs, they’re averaging 27.2 points per game and have topped 30 points in four of their last six match-ups which bodes well for the points total.
San Francisco’s even better offensively, ranking third in scoring and second in yardage. The Niners are averaging 28.6 points per game this year and are 9-8-1 against the Over, even with their stingy defense.
Detroit is one of the best Over teams in the NFL at 12-7, while San Francisco is 5-3 against the Over in its last eight games.
With two bold head coaches and so much offensive talent, this game has shootout written all over it. Expect plenty of points and take the Over at -110.
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