Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 9/15/12

Last week, the 49ers were able to hold off the Green Bay Packers, securing a win that could very possibly turn into a tie-breaker at the end of the season. With a win against the Lions at home, the 49ers could establish themselves as the team to beat in the NFC.

This game is intriguing for a number of different reasons. The Lions have a very explosive defense, but their defense is very susceptible to big plays on the back end.

That being said, the 49ers have a history of trouble on the offensive side of the ball. They run the ball well, but Alex Smith has problems connecting with receivers down the field. If it's an off game for the 49ers' offense, the Lions could make them pay in a big way, especially with their pass rush.

The Lions offense has been a group that's confused nearly everyone throughout the preseason and last week against the Rams. It's a group that can hang twenty-plus points on an opponent in an instant, but they haven't played well so far this year. San Francisco has one of the best defenses in the league, and they won't make it easy on Stafford and Co.

This is one of those games that could be a blow out either way, or it could be a nail-biter from start to finish. The Lions are playing for an early division lead over the Bears and the Packers; while the 49ers are playing for a spot at the top of the conference.

I know it's an early season game, but it's also a must watch game. As with many early season matchups, the significance won't likely be felt until the end of the season via the tie-breaking process. Don't let that fool you. This game's effects could be seen for the rest of the season.

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This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

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