Seahawks vs. Lions: Everything you need to know
It’s probably too early in the season to go to the cliche, “must-win” regarding Seattle's game Sunday at Detroit (3-3) but let's go ahead and do so anyway.
Seattle (3-3) needs seven victories to pretty much assure itself of reaching the postseason at 10-6. Consider then the strong teams remaining on the Seahawks’ schedule: Home vs. the L.A. Chargers (5-2), at the L.A. Rams (7-0), home vs. Green Bay (3-2-1), at Carolina (5-2) and home against Minnesota (4-2-1) and Kansas City (6-1).
Even if Seattle sweeps remaining games against Arizona (1-6) and the two against San Francisco (1-6), the Seahawks would still need to find four other wins to reach 10. Doing so without the help of a victory at the Lions would be a difficult task. Therefore, Sunday's game is a virtual "must-win."
How and where to watch
Time: 10 a.m., Sunday.
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
TV: FOX 12, Portland.
Radio: Portland, KFXX, 1080 AM and Portland, KGON, 92.3 FM
The off week did the body good for the Seahawks, who are healthier than they have been all season.
Linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) is expected to play in his first game of the season.
“He’s in good shape," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "Made it through, we’re excited about him playing.”
Tight end Ed Dickson, will also see his first game action ever with the Seahawks after coming off of the PUP list.
Rookie defensive end Rasheem Green is questionable. He's missed the last three games. Out are reserve cornerback Niko Thorpe (cornerback) and guard Jordan Simmons (calf).
For Detroit, running back Theo Riddick (knee) is out. Questionable are defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) and Jarrad Davis (calf).
When the Seahawks have the ball
Expect Seattle to do what it does best. Run. Run. run.
The Seahawks have racked up 629 yard rushing over the last four games and rank seventh in the NFL in rushing. Meanwhile, Detroit's defense ranks 30th against the run (139.3 yards per game) while allowing 5.3 yards per carry. Yes, the Lions did just acquire 353-pound DT Damon "snacks" Harrison from the New York Giants for a fifth-round pick, but his former team ranks 20th against the run.
Establishing that run game will be paramount because when teams are forced to pass they fall right into Detroit's hands. The Lions can get after the quarterback and have racked up 21 sacks, tied for fourth in the NFL. LB Devon Kenard has five. However, despite allowing a respectable 220.8 yards passing per game (seventh, largely due to a weak run defense) the Lions have allowed 12 touchdown passes while snagging just two interceptions and opposing QBs have compiled a 107.1 passer rating, third highest in the league. Not good.
When the Lions have the ball
Where Seattle must be careful is not allowing QB Matthew Stafford to get rolling. He is capable of shredding the Seattle defense if given ample time in the pocket. Seattle's pass rush has been solid with 18 sacks on the season but more importantly has allowed just eight touchdown passes with nine interceptions.
Seattle's opposing QB rating of 79.9 ranks third in the NFL.
On the flip side, the Seahawks have faced just one QB on Stafford's level and that's Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams. He had a strong game at Seattle with 321 yards passing in a win.
Stafford, since throwing four interceptions during a 48-17 loss at home to the New York Jets, has thrown 11 touchdown passes with just one interception.
Making matters more precarious for Seattle, rookie running back Kerryon Johnson just went off for 158 yards in a win at Miami.
By the numbers
Minus 3: The Lions are favored by three points over the Seahawks.
7: Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner needs seven tackles to surpass Keith Butler as the team's second all-time leader in that category.
34.6: That’s how many touchdown passes Seattle QB Russell Wilson is on pace for. He is at 13 in six games. He led the NFL last season with 34. However, his 13 so far this seaon ranks just tied for 10th.
91: Seattle's win two weeks ago over Oakland in London, England gave coach Pete Carroll a team-record 91 victories, surpassing Mike Holmgren.
8-5: Seattle leads the all-time series 8-5 but have been 2-3 on the road. The Seahawks have won four of the last five meetings.
This game is as much of a coin toss as the opener at Denver. Seattle could easily fall at Detroit and even get blown out if the Seahawks don't perform well.
Detroit has far more impressive victories that Seattle with wins over New England (5-2) and Green Bay (3-2-1, both at home). Seattle's best win came over Dallas (4-3) at home. But the Lions also have losses to the New York Jets (3-4), San Francisco (1-6), with QB Jimmy Garoppolo and at Dallas.
Earlier in the week I was leaning toward Seattle because of it's running game and the matchup against Detroit's weak rushing offense. However, in the end that might not matter much. This game will likely come down to the wire and in that case I've got to go with the home team that just happens to be playing great football as of late.
Detroit 27, Seattle 23