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What the 49ers and Lions Are Saying Ahead of the NFC Championship Game 

The San Francisco 49ers are set to host the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday afternoon. For the 49ers, this marks the organization's third-straight trip to the conference championship while the Lions are making their first appearance to the final four since 1991. These two teams have met in the postseason just once since the 1970 NFL merger, clashing in the Divisional Round of the 1983 playoffs.

Here's what each team had to say leading up to the playoffs:

Niners Liners

Head coach Kyle Shanahan on Lions quarterback Jared Goff:

"I think he's shown some of the stuff that he did in Los Angeles... He played at an MVP-type level. When they give him a good scheme, when he's got good people around him, Jared's going to always find the spot. He's as accurate as any quarterback I've seen. He can play at a very top level. If you sit and make things easy for him, he will gash you. I've seen it over and over, whether he's with the Rams, whether he is with Detroit. That's why he challenges you. You better be on your stuff, or he can embarrass you fast."

Shanahan on game planning for a team that is aggressive in their play calling:

"You're aware of it, so you understand it and you prepare for it. When it's third down, they might have two tries a lot more than other teams do. But just percentage-wise, they're willing to go for fake punts and all that stuff. Those guys are trying to steal possessions as much as they can. I'll tell you after the game whether that's a good thing or bad thing for us. Anytime you try to steal possessions, you're also offering an opportunity to lose a possession. Those are opportunities for them, but they're also big opportunities for us too. You come up with more than half of them, I feel it's in our favor."

Shanahan on the challenge that is the Lions defense:

"They're different almost every week. You've kind of got to see that in the game and how they play. They'll switch stuff up. If they get on beat on something, it's going to be something different next time. The consistency is they're going to attack and be aggressive. But it's not in terms of just coverages, fronts and all that stuff. They're running around trying to create confusion, trying to create negative plays. That's how they get their turnovers. That's how they don't mind giving you a lot of stuff, and all of a sudden, they create a negative play on second down and you're in 3rd-and-15. Really, I feel that's their goal to the game. You saw that with Tampa. There was three of their drives they were moving the ball really well. Whether it was second down or third down, they made a mistake, and just like that, they were off the field and really had to surrender on third-and-long. They're opportunistic and they create it. When you pair that with a really good offense, it only takes a couple drives for the whole game to change up real fast."

Quarterback Brock Purdy on reaching the NFC Championship in back-to-back seasons:

"This is obviously where we wanted to get as a team. That's first and foremost. I'm excited that we're here. Last year is last year. That was its own game. It hasn't been anything that has bled into this year or this game. This is the 49ers against the Lions now. It's a new year, a new approach, just in terms of playing their defense and their scheme, not thinking about last year or anything. For me, I got hurt last year and it sucked. That was part of the game. Going into this game, I'm healthy, I feel good. I think for all of us, we're obviously hungry and want to get to the next game after. We've got to handle business, take it one play at a time and allow everything to happen for a reason."

Purdy on the key to winning against the Lions on Sunday:

"For us on offense, we've got to obviously put up points. They have a good offense. We respect their defense a lot and what they do. They've had a lot of success this year. The last couple games they've been playing really well. So for us, it's don't turn the ball over, put up some points like we have this year, let our defense do their thing and try to win the momentum throughout the game. I feel like this game's going to come down to momentum. Whoever has that, I think has a good chance of winning the whole thing."

Purdy on the Faithful and the atmosphere at Levi's® Stadium:

"The game that this is going to be, it's the NFC Championship with two really good teams. Then, just the Bay Area and the Faithful, in general. We want this game bad, and they've been hoping to have another Championship come to this organization. The last couple times we've been in the Super Bowl, we've fallen short, so now we've got a shot at it again. To play at home in the NFC Championship, it's going to be sweet."

Linebacker Fred Warner on the narrow margins for victory in the NFC Championship Game:

"It's just one or two plays in the game that win or lose you the game at this point. It's the team that plays the best for three hours. Even this past Saturday, were we the best team that played for those three hours? We made one or two plays to make it happen. I don't know how this game is going to go on Sunday. We have to play our best football when our best is needed and whenever those one or two come, you have to make them."

Running back Christian McCaffrey on last year's NFC Championship Game fueling this season's playoff run:

"Last year was last year, this year is this year. I think we're exactly where we want to be, with a chance to win an NFC Championship at home. I don't think we're thinking about last year at all. Every year is unique in itself, you talk about last year, we went into Philly with full confidence, believing we were going to win that game and Brock goes down, lose our backup quarterback and didn't have much of a shot."

Defensive lineman Nick Bosa on the how the team's experience from last year affects this upcoming NFC Championship Game:

"It's hard to say if (past experiences in the NFC Championship Game) is going to impact what goes down for three hours on Sunday. It's definitely good experience for us. We've been here a lot. It's really a new year every year, so we have to play well."

Lions Quotes

Lions head coach Dan Campbell on playing on the road:

"If you want to be competitive in the playoffs, you want to have a chance to really go all the way, you have to be a good road team. You're not always going to get the No. 1 seed, that's the cream of the crop. That's the one. If you can win on the road, that means you can handle adversity, you can handle the ebbs and flows of a game, you don't crack and you handle pressure well. I think that's something that we've talked about here, the way we practice, the way we do things, the way camp is, all of that. It serves you well. When you're able to play a certain way on the road and handle a certain amount of pressure, that travels anyway."

Campbell on Shanahan:

"I've got a tremendous amount of respect for coach Shanahan and what he's done out there. I think he's an outstanding coach and certainly as an offensive coordinator, he's tops."

Lions quarterback Jared Goff on linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Warner:

"Both of those guys are really dang good and I've been fortunate, or unfortunate, to be on the other side of the ball from them quite some times. They're really good. They're both really smart. They're both fast. They both play sideline to sideline. They're both involved in the run game and the pass game. (I have) a lot of respect for both of those guys."

Lions center Frank Ragnow on the 49ers defense:

"Hargrave is strong, twitched up, has a whole array of pass rush moves. He's good versus the run. Armstead is huge, great moves, plays hard, also strong, twitched up. It's a huge challenge for us. If you look at that defense all over, even their reserves too, Kinlaw, you can go on and on, it's a very talented group. Each level of the defense, from linebackers to the secondary to the front is going to be a good challenge for us for sure."

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown on playing in the NFC Championship as an underdog:

"I feel like we've been the underdog for a long time, as long as I've been here. We're away, going to their house, so I get it, it's understandable. The 49ers are a strong team. They've been strong all year, but at the end of the day, you've got to go play ball. Both teams have got to go play… We've been underdogs for a while here, so it's nothing new to us. We've just got to go out there and still play."

Lions right tackle Penei Sewell on Bosa:

"He's very strong, very athletic and also very technically sound. He kind of has it all in terms of an edge rusher and pass rusher. It's going to be a big battle."

Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone on game planning for the 49ers:

"It's hard. Their scheme's really good. They do a lot of shifts, motions and different personnel groupings. Within those personnel groupings, they do different looks. But also they have All-Pro players doing it."

View some of the top images from 49ers practice as the team prepares for the NFC Championship Game against the Detroit Lions, presented by United Airlines.

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