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This could be a closer, more competitive match than San Francisco's Week 1 foe.
The Detroit Lions will be traveling to the Bay Area to take on the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. This will be the 49ers' first home game of the 2012 season, where a lot of new additions will make their debut at the 'Stick.
This game carries with it a sensitive, personal undertone after a emotional grind-it-out game in the Motor City last year.
These teams are similar in that they've made recent surges after being the laughing stock of the NFL. Now competing at a high level in the same conference, Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh may feel there is only room for one of them.
This will be a very physical and confrontational matchup.
Since this game comes early in the season, the Lions roster puts them at a slight disadvantage. They will not be at full strength since they've had suspended players and players with injury. Some of the notable names are Mikel Leshoure, Javhid Best, Nick Fairley and Aaron Berry.
After multiple legal offenses, the Lions were forced to make an example out of someone and did so by releasing CB Aaron Berry. This loss comes as a hit to an already ill-equipped secondary. Leshoure, Best (PUP) and Fairley are also expected to be unavailable in this Week 2 match.
Regardless of the presence of these players, Detroit does pose a serious threat. The Lions offense is focused around its premier weapon, Calvin Johnson.
The 49ers have had relative success against Johnson, who most consider to be the most dangerous offensive weapon in the league. In 2011, they were the first team to keep him out of the end zone after he was averaging two touchdowns a game at a seemingly unstoppable pace.
San Francisco has a number of talented cornerbacks and safeties that can challenge Johnson. Though it will be awfully difficult for the Niners to keep him scoreless for two consecutive games.
The 49ers can help themselves out by keeping him off the field with a steady, methodical approach to the run game. The Niners had a huge day on the ground against them last year, and in 2012, this is a much improved ground unit. Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman may really break out their bag of tricks when it comes to creative run plays.
I like San Francisco to play great defense and move the ball effectively on the ground in order to set up their shots against a relatively weak secondary.
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