SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 20: Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers looks on before the NFC Divisional Playoffs against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium on January 20, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
The Detroit Lions have been tipped to expose the San Francisco 49ers’ defense on Sunday.
The Niners are favored to come out on top in the NFC Championship clash but NFL analyst Greg Cosell has shared some concerns ahead of the matchup, pointing out that Skyle Shanahan’s side has difficulty defending third downs.
“The Niners are not very good in third-down defense,” Cosell said on the ‘Ross Tucker Football Podcast’. “A lot of people might not be aware of that. They’re in the bottom third of the NFL in third-down defense. The Packers converted quite a bit on third down.”
San Francisco has indeed experienced problems getting off the field in third-down situations all season; only five teams were worse than them in such regard in 2023.
Cosell also noted that the NFC West champions aren’t great at putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
“They did not get a lot of pressure on the quarterback, which has been a little bit of a problem for them given the players they have,” he added. “Chase Young has not looked particularly good since he’s been a 49er.”
The Niners and Lions will square off this Sunday at 6:30 ET.