Seahawks, Lions look to move above .500
The Seattle Seahawks (3-3) and Detroit Lions (3-3) will get together at Ford Field in a battle of two NFL teams who have bounced back from slow starts and are looking to get over the .500 mark in the 2018 season.
Seattle is coming off a bye week that was a bit of an emotional roller coaster. On the field, the Seahawks annihilated the Oakland Raiders 27-3 during Week 6 at Wembley Stadium in London. Russell Wilson was efficient as he completed 17-of-23 passes for 222 yards and threw three touchdown passes. The defense was lights out as they limited the Raiders to 185 yards and sacked Derek Carr six times.
Off the field, owner Paul Allen passed away on Oct. 15 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Allen saved the Seahawks from leaving Seattle as they had for all intents and purposes set up shop in Anaheim, California, in 1997. In addition, the Seahawks made 12 playoff appearances, won nine division titles, and Super Bowl XLVIII under Allen’s ownership along with construction of CenturyLink Field. The legacy left by Allen as an NFL owner is impressive let alone what he did with all philanthropic efforts in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world. It will be interesting to see what unfolds with the ownership situation for Seattle moving forward as you could see a Jeff Bezos or Steve Ballmer buy the Seahawks, which would be a game-changer.
Detroit went down to Miami and outlasted the Dolphins 32-21 to pick up another quality win for the Lions. Kerryon Johnson rushed for 158 yards to a lead a Detroit rushing attack that ran for 248 yards on Sunday. That commitment to running the football was a big step forward for head coach Matt Patricia as he is trying to turn the Lions into a more balanced, physical offense. Matthew Stafford is also reaping the benefits of having a running game as he completed 18-of-22 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the winning effort last Sunday. Stafford has been on a nice little roll over the past few weeks and should only see his numbers get better as the season goes along with this type of balanced offensive attack.
Seattle at Detroit
Kickoff: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. ET
Spread: Lions -3
Three Things to Watch
1. Russell Wilson vs. Matthew Stafford
On paper, this could be a wash as both guys can take over this game on Sunday if the situation dictates. However, for both the Seahawks and Lions to win on Sunday they need their respective quarterbacks to distribute the ball and not make mistakes. Wilson has thrown for six touchdowns and one interception in the last two games and has had a quarterback rating of over 125 in both games. Wilson needs to get the ball out to Tyler Lockett in space and let him go to work. Doug Baldwin also needs to be a big target for Wilson as well as it will be a huge plus for the Seattle offense if they can throw the ball effectively right out of the gate. Stafford will have a challenge going up against a ball-hawking Seahawks secondary that has shown a great knack for causing turnovers so far in 2018. Look for Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter to give Stafford more underneath throws to loosen up the Seattle defense before taking some deep shots down the field.
2. Seahawks' defense
The return of linebacker K.J. Wright to practice this week is a welcome sight for defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. Wright has been out all season recovering from knee surgery in August and when he is alongside of Bobby Wagner it only elevates the quality of play of the Seattle defense. Getting pressure on Stafford early and often will be another key to success for the Seahawks defense as Stafford has been one of the least blitzed quarterbacks so far in the NFL this season. If Seattle can generate some pressure, even if it doesn’t result in sacks, it should keep Detroit behind the sticks offensively. Assignment discipline is also going to be important for the Seahawks defensively as they’ll certainly see some fly-sweep type plays with Golden Tate and other crazy formations.
3. Line of scrimmage
The Seahawks' offensive line is continuing to make progress as it had another strong effort over in London against the Raiders with 155 yards on the ground. Chris Carson ran for 59 yards, and Rashad Penny and Mike Davis also had strong efforts when they got their touches. This group will be tested by the Lions defensive front as rookie Deshawn Hand has emerged in the early going of the season. Detroit also went out and acquired Damon Harrison for the Giants which is going to create some challenges for Seattle in their attempt to get their downhill running attack going. For Detroit, they are going to have keep Frank Clark in check and not let Jarran Reed clog up the middle and shut down their rushing attack. Look for this to be a fun battle for four quarters to see which team can impose their will at the line of scrimmage.
These two teams are about as dead even as you are going to get heading into this game on Sunday. The turnover battle is going to be critical as the Seahawks are plus-seven on the season in turnover margin while the Lions are at minus-one. Expect Seattle to be aggressive in trying to strip the football to get turnovers and short fields for their offense to work with. Bottom line, this game should go down to the wire if both teams play a clean game for 60 minutes and not give the ball away. The Seahawks will win a nail biter to get its fourth win of the season.
Prediction: Seahawks 24, Lions 23
— Written by Scott Whittum, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @ScottWhittum.