The NFC's most dominant defense challenges one of the NFL's explosive passing schemes, as the San Francisco 49ers square off against the Detroit Lions Sunday afternoon at Candlestick Park.
San Francisco punished the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field last week in their 30-22 win. The brutal San Francisco defense forced Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to throw into tight spots and linebacker Nick Bowman created an interception in the fourth quarter that hindered any chance of a Green Bay comeback.
Rodgers didn't throw a pick until Week 3 last season, and only committed 6 interceptions in 2011.
Quarterback Alex Smith diced up the Packers defense going 20-for-26 for 211 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Frank Gore tallied 112 yards and two touchdowns on an efficient 16 carries.
One of Smith's touchdowns went to San Francisco's key free agent signing Randy Moss, who caught four balls for 47 yards. Third-year receiver Michael Crabtree also made seven receptions for 76 yards.
Detroit, however, barely escaped the St. Louis Rams, despite early turnovers.
The Lions overcame quarterback Matthew Stafford's three first-half interceptions and closed out St. Louis with a 5-yard touchdown reception by running back Kevin Smith with 10 seconds remaining for a 27-23 win.
Stafford and All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson hooked up for six catches and 111 yards and a score.
The Rams generated 13 points off of Stafford's first half miscues, but Detroit's defense held St. Louis to 10 points and forced four straight punts in the second half.
The last time these two teams met 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz had to be restrained after a suspect "good-game" handshake and rough pat on the back last season when San Francisco won 25-19. Later the incident was dubbed "Hand-shake Gate".
Detroit's secondary will miss rookie cornerback Bill Bentley, who is out with a concussion, and safety Louis Delmas is doubtful.
San Francisco running back Brandon Jacobs and wide receiver Ted Ginn are questionable for Sunday's match-up.
Betting Odds: San Francisco is favored by 7 points.
Prediction: San Francisco contained the high-octane Rodgers and Packers last week, and should do the same this week against the Lions. Stafford cannot force his passes against the 49ers or he will have turnovers early again. San Francisco should win in a rout.
Predicted Score: San Francisco 24, Detroit 10