The Sunday afternoon matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions features two teams coming off tough divisional losses. Additionally, each squad will be looking to get an important tie-breaker advantage, since both squads are currently contenders for an NFC Wild Card.
The Seahawks are only one game out of the NFC West lead and have a much easier road than the San Francisco 49ers. However, they have to bolster their road record against mediocre competition. Going undefeated at home is great. Only having one win away from CenturyLink Field is not.
The Lions are desperate for a win to stay within shooting distance of a Wild Card spot. While they aren't mathematically eliminated from division contention, common sense dictates that they won't be catching the Chicago Bears or Green Bay Packers.
These teams are extremely similar in play despite their differing philosophies. Each team has a top-10 defense and an underachieving offense. The only difference is that the Seahawks' offensive woes were expected while the Lions were supposed to continue their explosive ways.
So who will get back on track? And how will you take in the action? Glad you asked, because I have all the answers below.
Where: Ford Field in Detroit, MI.
When: Sunday, October 28 at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Spread: Lions -1 (via bovada.lv)
There isn't much history between these two teams. They aren't rivals and have only faced off three times since 2001, with Seattle winning all three.
Vegas has slated the Seahawks as a two-point favorite on a neutral field, thus the one-point advantage to the Lions. Although it appears that the sportsbooks haven't taken Seattle's road woes into account.
Detroit, the team and the city, will be ready to rock come kickoff. The fans will provide the energy for the offense and the defense should have little trouble slowing down the Seahawks' pungent offensive.
It won't be a blowout, but you're only laying one point at home to a team that is 1-3 on the road and has a rookie quarterback. The Lions are the pick.
Over/Under: 43 (via bovada.lv)
Points will be few and far between. These two aggressive defenses should have little trouble locking down a couple of inept offenses. The kickers will be the highest scorers this week (nothing particularly new), so grab the under despite the low number.
Seahawks: WR Doug Baldwin (out, ankle); DE Jason Jones (questionable, ankle); RB Marshawn Lynch (probable, back); and CB Byron Maxwell (Questionable, hamstring).
Lions: DE Cliff Avril (questionable, back); CB Bill Bentley (questionable, shoulder); S Louis Delmas (questionable, knee); WR Calvin Johnson (probable, knee); CB Jacob Lacey (questionable, concussion); LB DeAndre Levy (questionable, hamstring); TE Brandon Pettigrew (probable, knee); S Amari Spievey (questionable, concussion); LB Stephen Tulloch (questionable, knee); DT Corey Williams (questionable, knee); and WR Titus Young (probable, knee).
Be wary of starting too many players from either team. Both defenses are extremely stout as Seattle is fifth and Detroit is eight in regards to yards per game. Don't let Detroit's 25 points allowed per game fool you. Many of those points are due to poor special teams play.
Under no circumstances should you bench Calvin Johnson, regardless of his struggles last week. And Marshawn Lynch has to be played against any defense. However, other than those two, go with your second option player so long as he's halfway decent.
Keys to Seahawks Win
Anytime you face the Lions, you have to stop Johnson. Matthew Stafford will look for him often to get the duo going since they only have one touchdown this season. This means he will force it at times, giving Seattle an opportunity or two to snatch an interception.
As for the offense, get the play-action passing game working. Lynch is a big enough threat to keep the front seven occupied. Thus, the Hawks need to expose Detroit's secondary through the air. The best way to do that is to give the defensive line a moment's hesitation.
Keys to Lions Win
Keep running the football. Detroit has been feeding Mikel Leshoure and he has responded well the last two weeks with a 4.9-yard average. That will open up the passing lanes and give Stafford a sense of security.
Oh, and they need to hold onto the football. Three red-zone turnovers against the Chicago Bears effectively lost Detroit the game.
The defensive line needs to continue to build upon the last few weeks. After a rough start, the sacks are starting to pile up. They need to harass the smaller Russell Wilson into errant throws and give the offense a short field.
Lions 17, Seahawks 13