The San Francisco 49ers did enough to get a victory over the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs last Saturday. While both the offense and defense struggled, in the end, the Niners came up with enough plays to secure a nail-biter of a win.
However, the 49ers will now have to face a Detroit Lions team that is feeling confident. They are coming off two strong victories against the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Overall, they seem to be a more talented team on both sides of the ball than the Packers and will almost assuredly present an even tougher test for San Francisco than the Packers did.
That means that the 49ers are going to have to up their game both on offense and defense if they want to advance to the Super Bowl.
3 49ers must step up vs. Lions in NFC Championship
This will be complicated by the fact that star wide receiver Deebo Samuel is not a sure thing to play in Sunday's contest against the Lions. He injured his shoulder against the Packers and has been deemed "50-50" on whether he will be able to play.
If Samuel is unable to go, that will affect the Niners offense. He is such a huge threat with the ball in his hands because of his physicality and strength, and when the ball is not in his hands, opposing defenses have to account for him while also trying to deal with the other weapons on San Francisco's offense.
He will be irreplaceable if he is unable to go, but other players are going to have to step up and fill in as best as they can.
On the defensive side, while no major injuries were sustained against the Packers, there is still plenty to improve. The secondary committed several obvious penalties, and the defensive line struggled against the run and was unable to consistently put pressure on Jordan Love.
All of those things need to change, and these three Niners are going to have to step up if the 49ers are going to beat the Lions on Sunday.