September 8, 2006
The Seahawks return this Sunday to the scene of last season's Super Bowl - Ford Field - to play the Detroit Lions. These are two franchises in very different stages of development. The Seahawks are riding high after a successful year and are aiming for another trip to the final game. Meanwhile, the Lions are searching for stability and a chance to rebound for another subpar season. The Lions have infused the team with discipline and creativity by adding tough guy head coach Rod Marinelli and offensive wizard Mike Martz.
The Lions will have to show vast improvement to keep up with the defending NFC champs. The Lions' offense should be improved with a steady veteran quarterback in Jon Kitna and the infusion of Martz's offensive game plan and creative play-calling. The key for the Detroit offense is for Kitna to spread the ball out to multiple receivers to free up Roy Williams and the running game, featuring Kevin Jones. The Seahawks will be keying on Williams because he is the only proven receiver on the roster, with a great combination of size and speed. That will put the pressure on Jones and the running game, which could be problematic because the Seahawks are physical up front and have a superb linebacking core. This matchup could key on the production of Corey Bradford and Mike Williams against the Seahawks— No. 2 and No. 3 corners, Kelly Herndon and Kelly Jennings.
On the other side of the ball, it looks like it could be a bigger mismatch with the Seahawks big, physical offensive line against the Lions undersized, though speedy, linebacking core. Look For Matt Hasselbeck to pick apart the Detroit secondary with pinpoint passing to a myriad of different receivers, backs and tight ends. Shaun Alexander will look to improve on his MVP season against a weak run defense and very young group of linebackers. The key for the Seahawks may be the return of Darrell Jackson, who missed the entire preseason and adds another vertical threat for the Seattle offense.
The Seahawks seem to be getting healthy for the regular season and will only be missing tight end Jerramy Stevens in the opener. On the flip side, the Lions still have a long way to go to reach respectability and made too many changes in the offseason to have become a cohesive unit at this point. My prediction for this game is a blow-out: 31-14 Seahawks on the road at Ford Field.
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