Week 2: Detroit Lions At San Francisco 49ers
- QuarterbackThe Lions believe that Matthew Stafford can take them to a new level. He’s got a big, strong arm and excellent touch. If Stafford can stay healthy, the Lions can stay in the chase with Green Bay and Chicago in the NFC North.Alex Smith outdueled Aaron Rodgers in the opening game of the season, and that’s no small feat for a player who has never had two consecutive good seasons. Smith has excellent mobility and a strong enough arm. He appears to have gotten over the edge and is an accurate enough passer to lead a powerful team.
- OffenseThe Lions have perhaps the best and most explosive receiver in the NFL in Calvin Johnson. He’s simply unstoppable. Running back Kevin Smith gives the Lions a decent ground game that can complement Johnson and Nate Burleson.The ground game is in solid hands with Frank Gore, who will run hard every time is number is called. No disrespect to New England’s Rob Gronkowski, but tight end Vernon Davis may be the best player at his position in the league.
- DefenseThe Lions want to intimidate opponents with their strong and talented defensive line. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh can destroy the run and get a push up the middle while defensive end Cliff Avril has speed and explosiveness. The secondary is just ordinary at this point.The 49ers may have the most consistent front seven in the league. Defensive coordinator will not let opponents run the ball and Justin Smith may be the most versatile defensive lineman in the league. Linebackers Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith are both sensational players.
- Special TeamsThe Lions continue to trot out Jason Hanson to kick field goals because they know he is dependable. Ben Graham is an ordinary punter and the return game is not special.If the Philadelphia Eagles don’t regret letting David Akers go a couple of years ago, they should. Akers bombed home a 63-yard field goal against the Packers in Week One. Andy Lee is one of the best punters in the league.
Last year, Jim Schwartz took exception to Jim Harbaugh’s backslap after the 49ers defeated the Lions in Detroit. Schwartz wants this game badly but the Niners appear to be too well-rounded and too tough defensively.