AT A GLANCE: Lions kick off new era with coach Dan Campbell against 49ers

Dan Campbell Lions Preseason Football
Posted at 5:11 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 17:11:39-04

SAN FRANCISCO (6-10 in 2020) at DETROIT (5-11 in 2020)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, Fox

OPENING LINE: 49ers by 7 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook

SERIES RECORD: 49ers lead 38-28-1

LAST MEETING: 49ers beat Lions 30-27 on Sept. 16, 2018 in San Francisco

49ERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (15), RUSH (15), PASS (12), SCORING (21).




TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: 49ers minus-11; Lions minus -9.

49ERS PLAYER TO WATCH: DE Nick Bosa is back for the first time since he had a knee injury in Week 2 of last year. Bosa was the 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year when he had nine sacks, 16 tackles for loss and 25 QB hits to help San Francisco reach the Super Bowl.

LIONS PLAYER TO WATCH: TE T.J. Hockenson appears to be the team’s best player in the post-Matthew Stafford era. The third-year pro is the first NFL tight end to have 50-plus yards receiving and a touchdown in Week 1 in each of his first two seasons. Hockenson is clearly new QB Jared Goff’s best option in the passing game.

KEY MATCHUP: Detroit rookie RT Penei Sewell, the No. 7 overall pick, will likely get tested by Bosa and Arik Armstead. Sewell struggled to block backups at times in the preseason, competing for the first time since the 2019 season at Oregon while making a transition from left to right tackle.

KEY INJURIES: After a season full of injuries, San Francisco is starting the season with no projected starters on the injured list. Rookie QB Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick, has a broken finger that could limit how much he is used for a change of pace in place of starter Jimmy Garoppolo. Lions RB D’Andre Swift (groin) and Hockenson (shoulder) went through all of practice Wednesday after being slowed by injuries in the preseason.

SERIES NOTES: The Niners have won 10 of the last 11 games, losing to the Lions six years ago for the only setback in a dominant stretch that started in the mid-1990s. ... In the divisional round of the 1983 playoffs, Billy Sims ran for two scores in the fourth quarter to give the Lions a six-point lead at San Francisco and they tried to hold on. Joe Montana threw a go-ahead touchdown pass for the Niners and Detroit’s defeat was sealed with 11 seconds left when Eddie Murray was wide right on a 42-yard field goal.

STATS AND STUFF: Garoppolo is back after missing 10 games to injuries last season. ... The Niners are 22-8 with Garoppolo at QB under coach Kyle Shanahan and 7-27 with other starting QBs. ... San Francisco will not go home until after playing at Philadelphia in Week 2, preparing for the Eagles with practices in West Virginia. ... The Niners are 7-3 in their past 10 openers, but they have had only one winning season in seven years. ... New Lions coach Dan Campbell was 5-7 as Miami’s interim coach in 2015. He’s the first former Lion to coach the team since Hall of Famer Joe Schmidt from 1967-1972. ... With the Los Angeles Rams, Goff threw 14 touchdown passes and six interceptions in eight starts against San Francisco. ... Last season, Swift joined Sims and Hall of Famer Barry Sanders as Detroit rookies with 10-plus touchdowns.

FANTASY TIP: San Francisco WR Brandon Aiyuk is worth a start against a young defense with a new coordinator. Aiyuk was one of four receivers last year with at least five receiving touchdowns and two rushing scores as a rookie. He had 60 catches and 748 yards receiving.