Week 16 Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Detroit Lions


When the San Francisco 49ers (4-10) take on the Detroit Lions (5-9) in a Week 15 matchup, there will be little to play for, as both teams have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Two teams who endured disappointing seasons, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top, as both teams will want to finish the season on a positive note.



Starting with the 49ers defense, although young and inexperienced, it’s encouraging to see the secondary coming together. Led by last year’s first-round pick (No. 30) DB Jimmie Ward who continues to make strides in his sophomore season, as he ranks No. 1 overall of all cornerbacks during the last three weeks, look for him to continue that type of success as he goes up against Lions WR Golden Tate.

A task easier said than done as Tate is a very savvy route-runner, do not count out Ward as he is a film-junkie, who understands the importance of reading player’s tendencies when it comes to down and distance.


Two players who will likely be matched up on each other more often than not, the ultimate test will be keeping Lions All-Pro WR Calvin Johnson in check. The 49ers do not have the elite cornerback or safety who can match up with Megatron one-on-one which greatly impacts this game. Currently listed as ‘questionable’ for the game, look for Johnson to put up gaudy numbers if he does play as I predict him to have a stat line around eight catches for 105 receiving yards and one touchdown.

While the 49ers’ secondary will have their hands full against Lions QB Matthew Stafford, look for the 49ers defense to set the tone by stuffing the run.



The 49ers continue to do a nice job with their gap-integrity all while setting the edge as of late. A defensive unit that has been over-looked over all season, it will be up to 49ers’ DE Quinton Dial, DE Arik Armstead, and NT Ian Williams, to continue holding the fort and make life difficult for the Lions rushing attack.

With the 49ers defense trying to do their part, look for the 49ers to try and do theirs. Led by entrenched starter QB Blaine Gabbert, look for him to continue his streak of throwing touchdowns to his wide-receivers as WR Torrey Smith should be the beneficiary this time around. And while I fully expect the 49ers rushing attack to be stagnant, expect the 49ers to score no more than 20 points as they have proved to struggle on the road.

With the 49ers looking to bounce back, do not expect them to do it in Detroit, as I see the 49ers losing by double digits, 27-10.

Vegas Odds

Sakamoto: 32-14 (Over/Under)

With the total points set at 42, I would take the under. In a game where the Lions score at least 20 points, expect the 49ers offense to struggle as they have yet to top 30.

Sakamoto: 27-19 (ATS)

With the 49ers being -10 point underdogs, I would take the Lions. A game in which I can see the 49ers easily covering the spread, I don’t think that will happen as the Lions offense will prove to be too much for the talented yet inexperienced 49ers secondary.

Fantasy Football (47/143)

As you know we select three players each game who we think will score touchdowns (quarterbacks omitted). Here are this week’s picks.

WR Torrey Smith

WR Calvin Johnson

WR Golden Tate


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Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.