Detroit Lions news: Ben Johnson, Duce Staley, Zach Ertz, statistical edges vs. 49ers?

Here's a look at some Detroit Lions news and other nuggets on the Thursday before the NFC Championship Game.

Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Big statistical edges for the Lions against the 49ers?

The Lions broadly match up well against the 49ers, in a bit of a mirror match for the NFC Championship Game.

But there are definitely areas of weakness each team could exploit on the other. It might be surprising to see there are a couple areas that play to the Lions' advantage fairly substantially, if they can be taken advantage of.

Via ESPN's "NFL Live" (h/t to Lions Fan Report on Twitter), Jahmyr Gibbs' strength as a runner outside the tackles (not surprising on its own) goes directly at a major weakness for the 49ers' defense.

On the defensive side, the Lions' pass defense may actually have an advantage if it's a close game in the fourth quarter on Sunday night.

Via NFL Inside Edge's NFC Championship Game preview (h/t to Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire), the Lions had allowed a league-best 47.8 passer rating in "close and late" situations since the 2022 season.

On the flip side, 49ers' quarterback Brock Purdy has the 10th-worst passer rating among qualified quarterbacks (75.5) in those "late and close" situations since the start of the 2022 season.

The Lions pass defense being so clutch, despite broader struggles in terms of sheer yardage allowed, has shown brightly in the playoffs so far. The 49ers like to play from ahead and struggle to comeback when they're down, so Purdy's struggles late in close games is not surprising.

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