Two of the NFC’s elite teams from a year ago will meet at Candlestick Park when the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions square off on Sunday Night Football.
Jim Schwartz is fully aware of the intense physical style that has allowed the 49ers to flourish under Jim Harbaugh.
The Lions coach was particularly impressed with the Week 1 49ers victory in Lambeau Field, home to one of Detroit’s divisional rivals.
“We have been trying to win in Lambeau for about a century or so it seems,” Schwartz said. “It’s a tough place to play… To see what San Fran did is not unexpected. There’s a reason that the 49ers were in the championship game last year because they’re a good football team. To go on the road in the opener and come out with a win, that was very impressive.”
Stafford is expecting a hard-fought game, much like the two teams’ showdown in Detroit last season, a 25-19 San Francisco victory that wasn’t decided until late in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a very similar group to what we played last year,” Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “Physical up front, good in the back end, two really good linebackers doing a good job playing their scheme and playing well.”
Schwartz was particularly impressed with the new 49ers oversize package where offensive linemen like Leonard Davis and Daniel Kilgore declare themselves eligible to create a size advantage blocking on the edge.
The oversized 49ers personnel package helped Frank Gore find the end zone in the fourth quarter against the Packers.
“They have a lot of different things with the extra tight ends that are offensive linemen,” Schwartz said. “It’s hard to get a beat on any one thing… It definitely spreads your attention to different places, which is I think what it’s all designed to do. We can’t worry about stuff like that.
“We have to adjust and play and worry more about ourselves. The 49ers have some really good offensive plays, have a very good scheme and they execute it very well. We like to think that we do, too, and that will be a good contest on Sunday.”
Stafford also observed the impressive 49ers offensive showing in Green Bay. The No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft especially noted that Alex Smith and company have not turned the ball over in a franchise-record 26-consecutive quarters.
“That’s what their system’s built around,” Stafford said of the 49ers streak. “Protecting the football, playing good defense, taking what the defense gives you and playing great special teams… Alex is playing really well. Obviously (San Francisco) upgraded the receiver position in the offseason. They’re attacking all parts of the field.”
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