Analyst reveals Lions’ key to beating 49ers in NFC Championship Game


The Detroit Lions enter Sunday’s NFC Championship Game as decided seven-point underdogs. However, one analyst believes they not only have the roster to pull off the upset but also that one play, in particular, has the potential to have a massive impact on the game. 

Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky highlighted the Lions’ ability to run the “pin-pull” concept, which has given the 49ers fits in the past. 

“This is the key to the game,” Orlovsky said. “If you ask me, how does Detroit win this game? Detroit goes to San Francisco, runs pin-pull a ton, and they go over 100 yards in just that run.” 

The scheme involves moving or “pinning” a motioning receiver, which, in turn, allows an opportunity to “pull” on the opposite edge with the most substantial blockers. Plays with designs like these can go for big gains on the perimeter, which the Lions should look for on Sunday. 

In the NFC divisional round, the Packers used the concept several times and found success. Running back Aaron Jones rushed for 108 yards off 18 carries, including a long of 53. 

Steve Wilks and the 49ers defense will have a stiff test in stopping the Lions, but like Detroit’s offense, they also ranked among the top five in the NFL. 

However, in Orlovsky’s mind, behind a seasoned signal-caller, a dynamic offensive line, and weapons in the running and passing game, the Lions are tailor-made for a brand of attack the 49ers “can’t stop.”

“One, you gotta play with condensed splits. Detroit does,” Orlovsky said. “Two, you have to have athletic offensive lineman to get out there, Penei Sewell, guys like that. They do.”

Winning football games goes beyond orchestrating a game plan, so the Lions must execute. However, while many may continue to count them out, especially against the 49ers, there is seemingly a path to victory.

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