4 reasons why 49ers beat Lions in NFC Championship (and 2 reasons why they don't)

The Lions stand between the 49ers and a shot at a record-equaling sixth Super Bowl. But how do the two teams stack up and how can the Niners win?

San Francisco 49ers v Detroit Lions
San Francisco 49ers v Detroit Lions / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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Aidan Hutchinson
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Why the 49ers won't win: Detroit's run defense can stifle Christian McCaffrey

We talked before about how the 49ers have to look out for its shaky run defense, and they have another concern when it comes to the running side of things with the Lions and their top-ranked run defense.

Christian McCaffrey has been the crown jewel of the Niners' overpowering offense, and he was the focal point in the wet against the Packers with 17 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns, along with seven receptions for 30 yards. He was both the battering ram and the safety valve.

In honesty, it was a little surprising that McCaffrey wasn't given the ball more in the rushing game, given the Packers struggle in that area. It's a matchup that'll be much tougher against Detroit.

Not many teams can clamp down on McCaffrey, but the Lions could very well be one of those teams with their exceptional front seven. Kyle Shanahan will find it much harder to feature McCaffrey as he did against the Packers.

If the 49ers aren't able to unleash McCaffrey, then the offense tends to sputter a lot more. While the relatively poorer passing defense of the Lions could alleviate this, the Niners would much rather utilize clock control as well by keeping it on the ground.