The last time the Seattle Seahawks faced a team from the NFC North, it enjoyed home-field advantage in addition to the last—and worst—mistake by the replacement officials going in its favor. Now, against the Detroit Lions, it will have neither luxury.
The Lions are in dire need of a victory at 2-4, while the Seahawks are attempting to keep pace in a competitive NFC West at 4-3.
The Seattle defense will try to continue playing at a high level, while the Detroit offense attempts to finally find a rhythm.
Here is everything you need to know about the matchup.
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
When: Sunday, October 28, 1 p.m. ET
Listen: 710 AM ESPN, 97.3 FM KIRO (Seattle), 97.1 FM, Sirius 93 (Detroit)
Spread: Lions -2 (according to Sports Book)
Seahawks Injuries (via ESPN, as of Oct. 24)
CB Walter Thurmond—Out—Leg
WR Doug Baldwin—Questionable—Ankle
Lions Injuries (via ESPN, as of Oct. 24)
CB Jacob Lacey—Questionable—Concussion
S Amari Spievey—Questionable—Concussion
WR Nate Burleson—Out—Leg
WR Titus Young—Probable—Knee
DT Corey Williams—Probable—Knee
What’s At Stake
The Lions are struggling this season and face another difficult defense, and if their performance against the Chicago Bears this past Monday is any indication, the team is in for a long day against Seattle. If Detroit cannot find a way to find an offensive rhythm soon, it will not be back in the postseason.
For the Seahawks, they must keep pace in an extremely competitive NFC West and take advantage of matchups like this win. Every game going forward will be important in Seattle’s quest for a playoff berth.
The Seahawks offense begins and ends with Marshawn Lynch. He is a safe bet to receive close to 20 carries in each game. Controlling the clock and winning the field-position battle will be extremely important for Seattle in this game, and Lynch will be their primary weapon in both efforts.
For Calvin Johnson’s fantasy owners, do not expect an explosive game from the All-Pro wide receiver. The Seahawks secondary is physical and talented. While Megatron is far too talented to even consider sitting, the Seattle defensive backs will keep him from returning to superstar form.
Seahawks Player to Watch: Richard Sherman, Cornerback
At 6’3”, the second-year cornerback is uniquely equipped to succeed against a wide receiver as big and talented as Johnson. With three interceptions and 11 passes defended, he has been Seattle’s most productive defensive back.
Detroit will be desperate to finally find success through the air, but as long as Sherman keeps playing at the same level, that will not happen.
Lions Players to Watch: Titus Young, Wide Receiver
If Detroit’s offense is going to return to last season’s form, it will need another threat besides Calvin Johnson. With Nate Burleson done for the season due to a broken leg, Young now has an opportunity to step up.
A breakout game from the talented second-year player is exactly the spark that Detroit needs. If he fails to make an impact, it will put the Lions in a deep hole that they may not be able to climb out of.
What They’re Saying
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press believes that Lions fans should remain calm regarding the team’s offense, but still have plenty of reasons to be displeased.
There's no cause for full-scale panic because Stafford's still in the embryonic stage of his NFL development. But there should be concern as to how an explosive offense sold as virtually unstoppable has stumbled and staggered because Stafford can't find the trigger.
While Sharp thinks the Lions need to pass better, Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times believe the Seahawks need to pass more.
Seattle is averaging 25 passes. No other team is averaging fewer than 28. Detroit is at the other end of the spectrum, averaging a league-high 46 passes.
And while the Seahawks are never going to adopt Detroit's heave-and-hope approach, Seattle's past two defeats should point to the danger of the formula it is currently using. The Seahawks ran the ball well enough to win both of those games, and instead they lost both.
Key Matchup: Seahawks Secondary vs. Lions Passing Game
These two teams' strengths will be pitted against each other, and it should make for a fantastic matchup. If the Seahawks secondary can force turnovers and contain Calvin Johnson, Seattle will win.
But if Stafford and the Lions passing attack can put up points in this game, the Seahawks offense will not be able to keep pace.
Prediction: Seattle 17, Detroit 16
This will be a low-scoring battle, and the Seahawks defense will be able to contain the Detroit offense, leading to a narrow victory.