The Detroit Lions (2-4) have been an extremely disappointing team so far this season and things won’t get any easier for them this week as they welcome one of the surprises of the year, the Seattle Seahawks (4-3) into Ford Field for what should be an interesting match up, between two teams heading in opposite directions. Both teams are entering this game following tough prime-time losses last week as the Seahawks fell to the San Francisco 49ers 13-6 and the Lions fell to the Chicago Bears 13-7.
The Seahawks have one of the best defenses in the NFL and they currently rank fifth in both total offensive yards allowed per game (297.3 yards) as well as rushing yards allowed per game (85 yards), eighth in passing yards allowed per game (212.3 yards) and third in points allowed per game (15.1 points). If Seattle could just get their offense together they could be one of the top overall teams in the league; that unit is ranked 31st in both passing yards gained per game (161.9 yards) as well as points scored per game (16.6 points), 30th in total offensive yards gained per game but eighth in rushing yards per game (131.7 yards).
With the run game being Seattle’s major focal point on offense Detroit should definitely expect a heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch who is once again having an extraordinary season. Lynch has carried the rock 147 times for 652 yards (4th in NFL) and two touchdowns and will probably do most of the heavy lifting again this week versus a team that is towards the middle of the pack in terms of stopping the run (Detroit is ranked 16th in rushing yards allowed per game, 108.8 yards). Russell Wilson (1,230 yards, 8 TD, 7 INT and 59.4% completion rate) must also play well and get the ball down field to his playmakers (Sidney Rice and Golden Tate) in order to keep this Detroit defense guessing. The Seahawks defensive standouts include Chris Clemons (7 sacks), K.J. Wright (54 tackles), Bobby Wagner (50 tackles) and Kam Chancellor who will all be looking to make play after play in order to get the Hawks back to their winning ways.
The Lions have done well in several statistical categories this season except for two major ones that impact games more than any others which are points scored per game (22.2 points, 19th in NFL) and points allowed per game (25 points, 22nd in NFL). In the major yardage categories the Lions are ranked second in passing yards gained per game (307 yards), tied for fourth in total offensive yards gained per game (406.3 yards), sixth in passing yards allowed per game (210.5 yards) and eighth in total offensive yards allowed per game (319.3 yards). The already struggling Lions are going to have their work cut out for them versus this defense but must find a way to get something going.
Matt Stafford is having a down season (1,756 yards, 5 TD, 6 INT and completed 62.1% of his attempts) after torching the NFL with over 5,000 passing yards and 41 touchdown passes last year. Stafford needs to find his magic touch from a year ago otherwise the Lions can truly kiss their playoff aspirations goodbye. Stafford hasn’t been able to hook up with Calvin Johnson (38 receptions for 592 yards and a TD) in the manner that he was in 2011 due to the double and triple coverages which Johnson constantly demands. Now with Detroit’s number two receiver Nate Burleson out for the remainder of the season either Ryan Broyles or Titus Young will have to step up, take over that spot and take some of the attention off of Megatron. For the Lions defense the pass rushing trio of Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch must not only contain Wilson in the passing game but also attempt to limit Lynch from running all over their defense.
In the end Seattle’s defense just seems too dominant for Detroit to regain their offensive magic against and this will be a very physical and ugly game which suits the Seahawks just fine. I’ll take Seattle 19 – 13.