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Our predictions for the Lions’ Week 1 matchup.
It’s officially gameday, and while expectations for the 2021 Detroit Lions remain relatively low, there’s not quite like the excitement of the first NFL Sunday of the season. And for the Lions, Sunday denotes the embarkment of a new era. Dan Campbell is here in all of his charismatic glory, and he brought a coaching staff with him that does inspire some true hope. Whether that hope will be cashed in this year, next year, or maybe never at all is very much to be determined, but that’s what makes this whole darn thing—especially Week 1—so much fun. We have no idea what’s about to happen, but by 1 p.m. ET, we’re all going to be glued to our televisions to see.
You’d like the Campbell Era to start out with more of a softball than they’re getting. The San Francisco 49ers are a team that has the Super Bowl aspirations and a pretty thorough roster to justify those expectations. And to make matters worse for the young Lions roster, the person we ranked as their third best player is suddenly out for a month after finger surgery. In his absence, Taylor Decker is leaving a massive hole opposite the 49ers’ best player in Joey Bosa. Detroit’s options to fill it: a rookie who has been practicing almost exclusively at right tackle, a converted defensive lineman who admitted this week he’s still learning the offensive tackle position, or a veteran who couldn’t cut it at tackle last year.
Predictably, our staff isn’t feeling great about the Lions’ chances in Week 1. As 7.5-to-9 point underdogs, the Lions would have to overcome a talent deficiency, a poor matchup, and lowered expectations to win on Sunday, which is why just one of us is predicting that to happen.
Here are our score predictions for Lions vs. 49ers.
Jeremy Reisman: 23-13 49ers
Erik Schlitt: 27-20 49ers
Hamza Baccouche: 31-13 49ers
Mike Payton: 35-17 49ers
Kyle Yost: 24-17 49ers
John Whiticar: 31-20 49ers
Alex Reno: 24-13 49ers
Kellie Rowe: 20-17 Lions
Chris Perfett: 49-22 49ers
Jerry Mallory: 24-20 49ers
Andrew Kato: 24-6 49ers
Ryan Mathews: 35-13 49ers