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Detroit, San Francisco ... playoffs ?

Few would have guessed those three words would belong together this season

Originally Published: October 13, 2011
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

Going into the season, who would have thought Sunday's San Francisco-Detroit game would have such impact?

The 49ers haven't made the playoffs since 2002. The Lions have been out of the playoffs since 1999. Both teams are in the thick of the playoff hunt now thanks to a 4-1 start by the 49ers and a 5-0 start (and nine-game regular-season winning streak) for the Lions dating to last season.

Jim Harbaugh's challenge in this game is trying to hold down the Lions' offense. ...

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