Lions at 49ers -- Week 2

Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco (grass, outdoors)

When: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Spread: 49ers by 6.5

Forecast: Mid 60s, 10 percent chance of rain

Records: Lions (Overall: 1-0, NFC North: 0-0); 49ers (Overall: 1-0, NFC West: 0-0)

Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Oct. 16, 2011: 49ers 25, Lions 19. Dec 27, 2009: 49ers 20, Lions 6.

Series record: 49ers hold 36-27-1 edge. The 49ers have won 13 of the last 14 with the last Lions win coming on Sept. 25, 1995.

What matters: While the postgame handshake between San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz was the prominent national storyline throughout the week -- and perhaps a contributing reason why NBC picked it for Sunday Night Football -- both teams have stressed that the incident is ancient history. It doesn’t matter, so they say. What does matter is that the 49ers enter the game on the heels of their most impressive opening-week game in more than a decade and are squarely in the national spotlight. A win against Detroit would further legitimize the team as a Super Bowl favorite.

Who matters: QB Alex Smith. In outplaying reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers last week, Smith confirmed what a lot of the offseason talk centered around: A full offseason with the coaching staff would do wonders for the former No. 1 overall pick. One game is just that, one game. However, there was something special about the way he led the balanced 49ers offense into Lambeau Field. Is Smith finally turning into the player 49ers’ faithful hoped for in 2005? It’s possible.

Key matchups: Whoever covers WR Calvin Johnson each week is a key matchup, but the 49ers won’t dedicate one player to shadowing Johnson. Instead, expect the team to bracket coverage in his direction and let either CB Carlos Rogers or Tarell Brown line up opposite him depending on which side the Lions split him out. The 49ers also have an intriguing challenge with talented TEs Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. LB Patrick Willis should be back on the field more this week as he and NaVorro Bowman will be tasked with slowing down the duo.

Injuries of note: Brandon Jacobs (knee) and WR Ted Ginn Jr. (ankle) are officially listed as questionable, but it would be a surprise if either plays. For the Lions, CBDwight Bentley (concussion), S Louis Delmas (knee), LB Travis Lewis (quadricep) and DT Corey Williams (knee) did not practice Friday. CB Chris Houston (Ankle) and DE Lawrence Jackson (calf) were partial participants. Bentley is out for Sunday. … Delmas, Houston and Lewis are listed as doubtful; Jacobs and Williams are questionable and Calvin Johnson (foot) is probable.

Inside stuff: S Trenton Robinson was the only 49ers rookie to play against the Packers, and his only contributions were on special teams. First-round pick A.J. Jenkins was active but did not play and second-round pick LaMichael James was inactive.

Connections: Lions G Rob Simms was teammates at Ohio State with T Alex Boone, WR Ted Ginn Jr. and S Donte Whitner at Ohio State in 2005. C Jonathan Goodwin was teammates with T Jeff Backus at Michigan from 1998-2000. TE/DL Demarcus Dobbs played at Georgia with Lions QB Matthew Stafford from 2006-2008. When Bruce Miller was playing DE at Central Florida in 2006 and 2007, the Golden Knights’ RB was Detroit’s Kevin Smith. RB Kendall Hunter and CB Perrish Cox were teammates with Pettigrew and CB Jacob Lacey at Oklahoma State from 2007-08. DT Ricky Jean Francois and Lions RB Keiland Williams were Bayou Bengals together at LSU from 2006-08.

Stat you should know: Since 2009, the 49ers rank second in the NFL with 37 INTs at home, trailing only Pittsburgh (50).

Record watch: If the 49ers don’t turn the ball over, it’ll be seven consecutive games with a turnover and a new NFL record.

Looking ahead: The road gets easier for the 49ers next week with a trip to Minnesota against the lowly Vikings. From there, the schedule gets interesting with three games against the three teams that claim to be from New York (Jets, Bills, Giants). Their first division game won’t be until Oct. 29 at home against Seattle.

Prediction: 49ers 35, Lions 17

Follow 49ers reporter Kyle Bonagura on Twitter: @CBS49ers and @KyleBonagura.

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