Lions vs. 49ers Prediction, Odds, and Picks for the NFC Championship: Should You Trust Brock Purdy as a Heavy Favorite?

Who will win the NFC Championship Game and advance to the Super Bowl? In our Lions vs. 49ers prediction, we break down the matchup and give out our best bet.

While the San Francisco 49ers are playing in the NFC Championship Game for the third time in four years, this is the Detroit Lions‘ first time making it this far into the postseason in 32 years.

Will San Francisco return to the Super Bowl, or can Detroit pull off the upset? In our Lions vs. 49ers prediction, we break down the matchup and give out our best bet for the NFC Championship Game.

Lions vs. 49ers Odds

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  • Spread
    49ers -7
  • Moneyline
    Lions +255, 49ers -310
  • Total
    50.5

Lions vs. 49ers Prediction

After escaping the Wild Card round with a 24-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams, advancing through the Divisional Round was much less of a sweat for the Lions with their 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Meanwhile, the 49ers, despite being heavy favorites against the Packers, saw their matchup come down to the very wire, as Jordan Love failed to engineer a game-winning drive with 1:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Lions’ win over the Buccaneers was far less shocking than the 49ers being in a dogfight as 10.5-point home favorites against the Packers. Outside of their Week 16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the 49ers were undefeated in 12 games when their offense was completely healthy, and won all but one of those games by more than one score (the lone exception was because of a meaningless field goal as time expired).

While Green Bay was coming off a huge upset win over the Dallas Cowboys, it was a surprise to many (myself included) to see them compete with San Francisco — especially in a game in which Love struggled.

MORE: Lions vs. 49ers Preview

In our early NFL Conference Championship picks and predictions column, my first instinct was to take the 49ers and the points. This was under the assumption, however, that Deebo Samuel would be playing, and the Lions would have trouble stopping this well-oiled machine that is San Francisco’s offense.

Since then, however, it’s been reported that Samuel is 50/50 to play. With this in mind, I’m far less interested in taking the 49ers in covering such a large number.

While San Francisco’s offense is very deep, they haven’t been the same unit without their starting lineup completely healthy. In three games without Samuel during the regular season, the 49ers went 0-3 and averaged 17 points per game. In all other games, not counting Week 18, they went 12-1 and scored 32.3 ppg.

Even against the Packers on Saturday night, whose defense ranked 27th in DVOA during the regular season, the 49ers’ offense struggled without Samuel. If San Francisco had issues scoring on a weak Green Bay defense, it’s hard to say that can’t happen again without Samuel against an equally bad Detroit defense.

It’s very clear that QB Brock Purdy can’t operate this offense as efficiently without all of his top weapons. With Samuel’s status uncertain for this game as of this writing, I’m going to go in a different direction for my best bet for the NFC Championship — and it starts with Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs.

Gibbs had such a spectacular rookie season that he has people re-evaluating their arguments against drafting running backs in the first round. Against the Buccaneers, he ran for 74 yards on just nine carries, including a 31-yard touchdown.

After a terrific performance last week, Gibbs is well-positioned for another big game in this matchup against the 49ers’ defense. While San Francisco allowed the third-fewest rushing yards during the regular season, this was mostly due to them having such big leads over their opponents, as the underlying metrics don’t support this unit having a stout run defense.

During the regular season, the 49ers’ run defense was 26th in EPA/play and 24th in success rate. Against Green Bay in a very close game, their struggles against the run were on full display, as Aaron Jones ran for 108 yards on just 18 carries, including a 53-yard run.

MORE: Updated Super Bowl 58 Odds — The 49ers Are Favorites Going Into Conference Championship Weekend

While Gibbs doesn’t have the same volume as Jones — David Montgomery is the clear lead back in Detroit — the rookie doesn’t need a ton of carries to go over his prop line of just 45.5 rushing yards.

Gibbs is one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL, with his 16 carries of 15+ yards during the regular season trailing only Christian McCaffrey.

I like Gibbs to surpass his rushing total, but my favorite player prop is for his longest rush to go over 13.5 yards — a line that he has hit in 15 of 19 games this season.

As we wait for more information on Samuel’s availability, I recommend taking Gibbs’ overs before they go up even more.

Lions vs. 49ers Prediction: Jahymr Gibbs over 45.5 rushing yards (-114 at FanDuel), longest rush over 13.5 yards (-145 at DraftKings)

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