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After several largely predicable matchups, this year's NFC Championship showdown is anything but. While the San Francisco 49ers' participation isn't surprising, their opponent on Sunday, the Detroit Lions, are one win away from pulling off one of the most unthinkable feats in NFL history. 

If they can get past San Francisco, the Lions will advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history. The win would also mark Detroit's third playoff victory this month after the franchise won just one total playoff game the previous 66 years. 

The Lions' success this season isn't a fluke, though. Arguably the NFL's most consistent team, Dan Campbell's squad is equipped with a loaded offense and an opportunistic defense. On Sunday, Campbell will match wits with offensive guru Kyle Shanahan, who is trying to join his father, Mike Shanahan, as a Super Bowl-championship head coach. 

Here's a ranking of the five players we think will impact the outcome of Sunday's game the most. 

5. Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers 

Samuel's status for Sunday is up in the air after the versatile wideout injured his shoulder during the 49ers' divisional round win over the Packers. Shanahan provided a positive update earlier this week when he announced that Samuel did not break his shoulder. Patience, Shanahan stressed, will be the key this week regarding Samuel. 

Samuel's absence would clearly impact the 49ers, who weren't the same without him against the Packers. Even if he plays, it's safe to say that Samuel won't be able to contribute the way he normally does. This will undoubtedly put more of the onus on the 49ers' other top playmakers, led by Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk, more than anyone, will likely have to step up most with Samuel compromised. He'll surely have to have a bigger impact than he had against against Green Bay, when he had just two catches on two targets. 

4. Dre Greenlaw, LB, 49ers 

Greenlaw was a one-man wrecking machine against the Packers. Along with recording a team-high eight tackles, Greenlaw had two picks of Jordan Love; the first pick set up a field goal and the second one sealed San Francisco's 24-21 win. 

Greenlaw and fellow 49ers linebacker Fred Warner will have to continue to play at a high level on Sunday against one of the NFL's most talent-laden offenses. Specifically, it will be up to Greenlaw and Warner to help minimize the Lions' formidable running back combo of Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery

3. Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Lions 

Melifonwu was all over the field last Sunday. He tied fellow defensive back Brian Branch for a team-high nine tackles. He also paced Detroit with 1.5 sacks that included his takedown of Baker Mayfield that ended the Buccaneers' opening drive and helped set up the Lions' first points. 

Melifonwu has emerged as a key player on the Lions defense since being elevated into the starting lineup late in the regular season. After two injury-plagued seasons, Melifonwu is healthy and taking full advantage of his unique blend of size (6-foot-3) and speed (a 40-yard dash time of 4.48 seconds). Earlier this season, he became the only defensive back since 1999 to tally four pass breakups, three sacks and an interception over a two-game span, according to The Athletic

2. Brock Purdy, QB, 49ers 

It's a quarterback-driven league, so it's only right that we close out our list with Sunday's two starting quarterbacks. More than that, though, this game will likely be determined by which quarterback is able to rise to the occasion on Sunday. 

Purdy was uncharacteristically off against the Packers. He had several misthrows that led to him completing just 59% of his passes. Shanahan feels that some of Purdy's issues were caused by the rain. 

Fortunately for the 49ers, Purdy was able to overcome his rocky moments with some clutch ones against the Packers. But he's going to have to play better Sunday against a Lions defense that will surely try to limit McCaffrey while putting the game squarely on his shoulders. Look for Detroit to pressure Purdy early in an effort to prevent him from finding an early rhythm. 

1. Jared Goff, QB, Lions 

Like John Elway 26 years ago, Goff is the sentimental favorite among fans who no longer have a rooting interest in the NFL playoffs. Two years after being traded by the Rams, Goff is one win away from becoming just the fourth starting quarterback to take multiple franchises to the Super Bowl, a group that includes Tom Brady and Peyton Manning

Goff started a little slow against the Bucs, but he caught fire in the second half with 188 yards that included what proved to be the game-winning touchdown pass to Amon-Ra. St. Brown. Goff directed a Lions offense that scored touchdowns on three straight drives after halftime. 

He may have to start out stronger than he did last week, but if Goff continues to utilize the talent he has around him, he has more than a good shot at leading the Lions to Las Vegas.