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Seattle vs. Detroit Prediction: Banged-Up Lions Host Seahawks

Pair of 1-2 NFC teams meet in the Motor City.

Don't let the records fool you, as the Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions will battle at Ford Field on Sunday in a game that has the feel of a high-scoring affair. These two teams met last season in Seattle, with the Seahawks dominating the Lions 51-29 in Week 17.

Related: NFL Predictions for Every Game in Week 4

Seattle (1-2) made some strides on offense last week against Atlanta but fell short in a 27-23 loss at home. Geno Smith completed 32 of 44 passes for 325 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Smith had a chance for a game-winning drive but took a costly sack followed by the pick that ended any hopes of a comeback. Rashaad Penny rushed for 66 yards on 14 attempts. Tyler Lockett continued his strong start with nine receptions for 76 yards.

The defense is still a work in progress as the Seahawks yielded 386 yards on the day. Cordarrelle Patterson gashed Seattle for 141 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries while Kyle Pitts posted 87 receiving yards on five catches. The Seahawks outgained (420-386) the Falcons and won the turnover battle (2-1) but didn't make the most of their opportunities (9-for-17 on third down) and allowed too many big plays.

Detroit also came up short last Sunday, relinquishing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead in Minnesota that the Vikings turned into a 28-24 come-from-behind victory. The Lions were seemingly in control for most of the game but couldn't close the deal. Kirk Cousins tossed the game-winning, 28-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Osborn with 45 seconds remaining. It was a costly loss for Detroit in other ways as D'Andre Swift (shoulder) and Tracy Walker III (Achilles) were lost to injuries. Walker has already been ruled out for the rest of the season, while Swift will likely miss Sunday's game, at minimum.

On offense, Jared Goff (25-of-41, 277 yds., TD, INT) did his part and Jamaal Williams (20 att., 87 yds., 2 TDs) filled in admirably for Swift. But the Lions were just 3-for-16 on third down, committed seven penalties (vs. three for the Vikings), and wore down on defense in the fourth quarter.

Seattle (1-2) at Detroit (1-2)

Kickoff: Sunday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Lions -4
Tickets: As low as $71 on SITickets.com

Three Things to Watch

1. Can the Seahawks' offense take off in Motor City?
This is a tremendous opportunity for the Seahawks to put together 60 minutes of well-balanced offensive football. They are going against a Detroit defense that is allowing 31 points and 422.3 yards per game this season. The biggest weakness has been the pass defense, with the Lions surrendering 280 yards per game through the air. Look for offensive coordinator Shane Waldron to line up some plays that have Smith taking some early shots downfield to try and get the ball to DK Metcalf and Lockett. Detroit has some solid defensive backs, such as cornerback Jeff Okudah, but it won't be easy to fill Tracy Walker III's safety spot. If Metcalf and/or Lockett can get loose early or win their one-on-one battles, it could lead to a big game for Smith. But Seattle won't ever completely abandon the run, so Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker III will get their chances with the intent of wearing down the Lions' defensive line and forcing the defensive backs to help out near the line of scrimmage more.

2. Lions' offense ready to roar some more?
Moving the ball and putting points on the scoreboard has not been Detroit's problem early in the season. The Lions are second in the league in scoring (31.7 ppg) and third in total yards per game (409.0). Goff is off to a decent start, including a 7:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He needs to improve his accuracy (58.9 percent), especially since he should get opportunities to challenge Seattle's young cornerbacks. The backfield will look different with Swift more than likely out, but Williams is capable and one of the keys thus far has been the play of the offensive line. The Seahawks are still getting acclimated to their new 3-4 alignment under defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt, and this unit has had trouble stopping the run (157.0 ypg, 31st) to this point.

3. Will Seattle's D make the trip to Detroit?
Last week was interesting, as the Seahawks' defense had a rare scenario where they were only on the field for 54 plays. But they didn't execute when necessary and allowed the Falcons to do pretty much whatever they wanted on offense, and that proved to be costly. Seattle yielded 5.9 yards per carry and gave up three scores on four trips inside the red zone. That combination was too much to overcome. Linebacker Jordyn Brooks needs to set the tone early and do his part to limit Detroit's running game. The Lions also will not be at full strength on offense with top wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown already ruled out due to an ankle injury and Swift also unlikely to play. Fellow wideout DJ Chark Jr. (ankle) and tight end T.J. Hockenson (foot) also have been on the injury report and missed practice time this week. The Seahawks are fully aware that Goff can be turnover-prone, so look for them to find ways to dial up the pressure.

Final Analysis

It's not realistic to expect the Seahawks to blow out the Lions for the second season in a row. Geno Smith should be able to do enough to keep Seattle in the game into the second half. The key for Smith is taking care of the football and not hesitating to throw it away versus taking an unnecessary sack this week. The ground game should be able to get going this week and that may be enough to allow the Seahawks to surprise Detroit on its own turf. Either way, barring a tie, one of these teams is getting back to .500.

Prediction: Seahawks 31, Lions 27

– Written by Scott Whittum, who is part of the Contributor Network.

*Price as of publication.