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The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2021 NFL season with heightened expectations after missing the playoffs last year in an injury-ridden campaign. With a seemingly healthy roster, the 49ers look to become playoff contenders once again.
It all starts at the quarterback position Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off a rocky 2020 season which saw him miss 10 games with an ankle injury. In the games Garoppolo did play, his performance was inconsistent. He threw for 1,096 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions, completing 67.1 percent of his passes. The 49ers traded up to select Trey Lance No.3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lance has shown spurts of potential in his four preseason appearances so far.
Nick Bosa missed the entire season after tearing his ACL in the 49ers’ Week 2 win over the New York Jets. Dee Ford, Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert and a number of players in the defensive secondary also missed games last season as the 49ers couldn’t seem to shake off the injury bug.
Bosa and Ford return to the fold to anchor a stout defensive line that includes 2020 first-rounder Javon Kinlaw and veteran Arik Armstead. GM John Lynch did fairly well this offseason dealing with limited cap space, signing linebacker Fred Warner to a massive five-year, 95 million contract extension. The former third round pick headlines a linebacker group featuring D.J. Jones, Jordan Willis and Dre Greenlaw. DeMeco Ryans was hired as defensive coordinator after Robert Saleh took the Jets’ head coaching gig this offseason.
On the offensive side of the ball, the 49ers re-signed Trent Williams and acquired Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency, forming one of the most elite offensive lines in football. They drafted running backs Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell in the third and sixth rounds, respectively. Brandon Aiyuk, the team’s other 2020 first-round pick, showed flashes of greatness in his rookie season filling in for Samuel. And of course the ultimate security blanket at tight end, George Kittle, returns for his fifth season.
The Week 1 matchup against Detroit shouldn’t pose much of a threat for the 49ers. The Lions made a couple of big moves this offseason, firing Matt Patricia after a 5-11 season and hiring Dan Campbell. The franchise also traded longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford and a third-round pick to the Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and two future first-round picks. Goff, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick, threw for 3,952 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season.
It’s clear that the Lions and 49ers are two teams heading in opposite directions in 2021. The 49ers look to be a playoff contender, while Detroit is focused on rebuilding.
What time do the 49ers play in Week 1?
Kickoff between the 49ers and Lions is set for 10 a.m. PT on Sunday, Sept. 12, at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.
What TV channel is the 49ers game on?
The 49ers-Lions game will air on FOX.
The 49ers First Look show will begin at 8 a.m. PT, with 49ers Pregame Live following shortly after at 9 a.m. PT. Both shows will air on NBC Sports Bay Area and are available to stream here and in the MyTeams app.
The crew returns for 49ers Postgame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area right after the game to break down all the action in Week 1. Watch the show live here and in the MyTeams app.
How to stream 49ers vs. Lions live online
Free streaming option: FuboTV (free trial)
How to listen to 49ers vs. Lions on the radio
Are the 49ers favorites against the Lions?
The 49ers are nine-point favorites over the Lions in Week 1, according to our partner, PointsBet.
The 49ers defeated Detroit 30-27 the last time the two teams played in 2018 and have dominated the series overall. The 49ers have won eight of the last nine games played against the Lions over the last two decades.
Check out the full betting preview for the game here.
Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.