The Detroit Lions have advanced to a postseason level not seen in years, and aim for the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance.
Dan Campbell – in just his third season as head coach – has directed the Lions to their first NFC championship game appearance in 32 years. His team has won two postseason games en route to the conference title game, which triples the number of playoff victories for the Lions during the Super Bowl era.
The San Francisco 49ers are used to reaching this point in the playoffs. This is their third consecutive NFC championship game appearance and fourth in the last five seasons. Boasting a loaded roster with an NFL-high nine Pro Bowl selections, the 49ers are heavy favorites to return to the Super Bowl after a four-season absence.
USA TODAY Sports will provide the latest updates, news, highlights and analysis throughout the Lions-49ers playoff matchup. Follow along.
Lions vs. 49ers game time
The Lions vs. 49ers NFC championship game is set to kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET. The game will be held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
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Lions vs. 49ers how to watch
Lions vs. 49ers weather
According to AccuWeather, it is projected to be quite nice for the NFC championship game, with partly sunny skies and a high temperature of 74 degrees on Sunday in Santa Clara, California.
Who is favored, Lions or 49ers?
The top NFL betting apps favor the 49ers over the Lions in the NFC championship game.
Lions vs. 49ers spread
The 49ers are 7-point favorites over the Lions according to the BetMGM NFL odds.
Lions vs. 49ers over under
The over-under is 51, according to the BetMGM NFL odds.
Lions vs. 49ers moneyline
The 49ers are a -350 favorite on the moneyline. Meanwhile, the Lions are a +275 underdog, according to the BetMGM NFL odds.
Lions vs. 49ers predictions: Who will win NFC championship?
USA TODAY Sports’ staff picks for the game:
Lorenzo Reyes: 49ers 29, Lions 24 — The 49ers simply have the stronger roster, but the Lions actually match up fairly well. Detroit excels at stopping the run, which could limit the effectiveness of Christian McCaffrey. The Lions are certainly weaker on the back end, but San Francisco may be dealt a blow with the health of Deebo Samuel. I think this game stays closer and Detroit covers because the San Francisco secondary has yielded big plays and may have difficulty containing Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta.Tyler Dragon: 49ers 27, Lions 21 — The 49ers are advancing the NFC championship game for the third consecutive season and fourth time in the last five years. While the Lions have exceeded expectations on their way to the conference championship. Watch the battle in the trenches. These two teams excel in that area. But the 49ers have the more complete team and a stout defense headlined by All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner and 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year defensive end Nick Bosa. Deebo Samuel’s shoulder injury is concern. The 49ers aren’t the same without the versatile wideout, but San Francisco’s defense is going to make the Lions uncomfortable.Safid Deen: Lions 29, 49ers 26 — Deebo Samuel or not, I don’t think the 49ers are ready for what’s coming to San Francisco this weekend. The Detroit Lions are playing on another level with one of the best run games in the NFL, a quarterback that’s sure of himself and his offense, and weapons across the board on both sides to reach the franchise’s first Super Bowl. Somehow, some way, Brock Purdy or Kyle Shanahan will find a way to cost their team in this one.Victoria Hernandez: Lions 27, 49ers 25 — The 49ers have one of the most well-rounded offenses in the league, but Deebo Samuel’s health is a major question mark. I went back and forth on this pick, but the Lions are America’s Team right now and if there is a script, they are in the Super Bowl.Jordan Mendoza: Lions 24, 49ers 23 — Will the magical run continue in Detroit? Despite all the weapons the 49ers have on both sides of the ball, they can only go as far as Brock Purdy takes them. The shaky performance against Green Bay is enough to believe the Lions can put the pressure against the 49ers offense, while the passing game is able to exploit the San Francisco secondary. Detroit pulls off the shocker, and plays for the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in team history.
Lions vs. 49ers playoff history: An epic old-school playoff
When the Buffalo Bills rallied from 32 points down to defeat the Houston Oilers in a 1992 AFC wild-card game, it broke a playoff record that was set back in 1957 when the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Detroit Lions in a Western Conference playoff game.
The 49ers hosted the Lions — a 1950s NFL powerhouse that had won two titles earlier in the decade — and stormed out to a 24-7 lead at halftime and tacked on a field goal in the third quarter to go up 27-7. After that, the bottom fell out on the 49ers, whose shot at title glory slipped away and wouldn’t be recaptured until the 1980s. Tom “The Bomb” Tracy scored two touchdowns to trim the 49ers’ lead to 27-21 entering the fourth quarter, when the Lions added another touchdown and a field goal to pull off the dramatic comeback at Kezar Stadium. A week later, the Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns, 59-14, for the team’s last championship.
The 49ers and Lions met one other time in the playoffs, this time during the 1983 season in what was another thriller. Despite a 114-yard, two-touchdown performance from Lions running back Billy Sims, the 49ers pulled out a 24-23 divisional playoff win. San Francisco lost to Washington in that season’s NFC championship game. — Jim Reineking
Ex-Lions safety Glover Quin stirs up 49ers fans on airplane
Glover Quin, who played 10 seasons in the NFL including six with the Lions, posted a video on social media of himself having some fun with 49ers fans while entering an airplane.
“Y’all watch this,” Quin says as he walks onto the plane. “When I get on the plane, I’m gonna start saying, ‘Let’s go Lions!”
Quin reverses the view to show plenty of fans wearing 49ers gear, but at least one wearing a Lions jersey. He then starts the chant amid boos and smiles from the San Francisco faithful. — Casey Moore
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