The 49ers take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon in the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium, and the winner will travel to Las Vegas in two weeks for Super Bowl LVIII.
Three hundred and sixty-four days after the 49ers blew their Super Bowl hopes last season when Brock Purdy was injured in Philadelphia, they have another chance at glory.
Deebo Samuel was limited in practice earlier this week after injuring his shoulder in last week’s divisional round win over the Packers, but he was listed as healthy Friday in the report final injury of the week, and he is active on Sunday.
Follow live updates throughout the game.
Pre-match: The 49ers will send Joe Montana into the draft lottery as honorary captain, and the Lions will counter with Barry Sanders. Last week, the Packers won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball first, scoring a field goal on their first drive.
Pre-match: The Chiefs beat the Ravens 17-10 Sunday afternoon in Baltimore to earn their fourth Super Bowl berth in the last five years. The Ravens had two fourth-quarter turnovers in the Chiefs’ end zone to end a promising drive and undermine their comeback hopes.
Below are our notes ahead of kick-off.
SANTA CLARA — Brandon Aiyuk offered a poignant and knowing response this week when asked if the 49ers were rallying to take 14-year veteran Trent Williams to his first Super Bowl.
“I’ve never been to the Super Bowl,” Aiyuk said. “I’m trying to get to the Super Bowl.”
As postseason-tested as the 49ers were in their third straight NFC championship game and fourth in five years, their star-studded offense returns just three starters from their team’s 2019 Super Bowl appearance: tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Deebo Samuel and fullback Kyle. Juszczyk.
Defensively, the majority of their starters have Super Bowl experience: defensive linemen Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave (on the 2022 Eagles); linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw; cornerback Charvarius Ward (on the 2019-20 Chiefs); and safety Logan Ryan (2014, ’16 Patriots).
Beating the Lions in today’s 3:30 p.m. kickoff would send the 49ers to Super Bowl LVIII, held Feb. 11 at the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, where the 49ers made their preseason debut -season in August.
The Lions are one of four NFL franchises that have not reached the Super Bowl. Their last road playoff victory was in 1957 against the host 49ers at Kezar Stadium; the Lions then defeated the Cleveland Browns in the NFL championship game.
HONORARY STARTERS OF THE DAY
Safety Talanoa Hufanga will sound the pregame foghorn before kickoff. Hufanga suffered a season-ending knee injury during the 49ers’ November win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has since kept a low profile, although one player in the game continues to receive a kukui nut necklace that Hufanga has given away in recent seasons.
Talanoa Hufanga will light the pregame foghorn at Levi’s Stadium for today’s NFC Championship Game against the 49ers and Lions.
Hufanga suffered a torn ACL in their win over Bucs in November and has kept a low profile since then, although one game player receives his kukui nut necklace every week pic.twitter.com/mPu08nOJvX
– Cam Inman (@CamInman) January 28, 2024
Today’s honorary captains are 49ers and Lions franchise icons and Pro Football Hall of Fame members Joe Montana and Barry Sanders.
The halftime entertainment is Journey, and if the pregame sound checks are any sign, one song might be “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
“Just a city boy, born and raised on the south side of Detroit….” Don’t be surprised if the opening lyrics referencing South Detroit are replaced with San Francisco to the delight of the local audience.
WHO IS OUT
Cornerback Samuel Womack III, wide receiver Ronnie Bell, wide receiver Willie Snead, linebacker Jalen Graham, quarterback Brandon Allen, linebacker Curtis Robinson and offensive lineman Matt Pryor are designated as inactive for the 49ers.
Cornerback Steven Gilmore, defensive lineman Charles Harris, quarterback Hendon Hooker, guard Jonah Jackson, defensive lineman Broderic Martin, wide receiver Kalif Raymond and safety Tracey Walker are inactive for the Lions .
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