Detroit Lions vs Seattle Seahawks Wild Card Round Preview

Detroit Lions vs Seattle Seahawks Wild Card Round Preview

The Detroit Lions make their second playoff appearance in three seasons under coach Jim Caldwell. Here’s our weekly breakdown…

FUNDAMENTALS:

Opponent: Seattle Seahawks

When: Saturday, Jan. 7, 8:15 p.m.

Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.

Television: NBC

Radio: WJR-AM 760

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WHAT’S ON THE LINE: The Lions’ first playoff win since 1991. In fact, the Lions only have one playoff win in the Super Bowl era. 11 of the 13 games (including this week’s game) the Lions have played in the playoffs in the Super Bowl era have been on the road, and that one Lions win came at home against Dallas in ’91. It’s been a rough road for the Lions and their fans in the history of the organization, but a win in Seattle on Saturday would certainly stun the nation and get the Lions to that playoff rematch against the Cowboys they’ve been wanting for two years.

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WATCH FOR…

  1. Von Lozon: The pass rush. The Lions were not able to get a solid pass rush against Aaron Rodgers last week in large part to Green Bay’s stellar offensive line. Seattle’s pass blocking rank, according to Pro Football Focus, is 27th in the league, and their rush blocking is 29th. It has been another down year for Seattle’s offensive line, so Kerry Hyder and Ezekiel Ansah should be able to get some solid pressure on Russell Wilson when it’s all said and done, and they will need to if they want a chance to win in a hostile environment like Seattle.
  1. Kyle Mallett: Matthew Stafford. I know he’s been my focus point for the most part this season, but this playoff game in Seattle ultimately rests on his shoulders. Stafford will be tasked with leading an emotionally battered Lions team coming off three straight losses to victory in one of the toughest stadiums to play at in football. With the defense playing so poorly the last three weeks, the task looks very daunting and impossible.
  1. Kent Platte: Right side of the offensive line. Now that Laken Tomlinson has settled in and is playing well, the interior is fairly secure, but Riley Reiff’s absence was felt badly with Corey Robinson missing more than a couple assignments. If he can hold off the Seahawks’ pass rush, while Taylor Decker confines to do his job, the Lions could walk out with their first playoff victory in two decades.
  1. Nick Kostora: Can Detroit defy expectations and jump out to an early lead? It doesn’t seem likely, but doing so would help mitigate the vaunted “12th man,” force Seattle to change their brand of offensive football and elevate Detroit’s offensive attack for the entire game. Watch for Jim Bob Cooter to go to the hurry-up offense early in this game to try and light a fire under the offense and put the Seahawks on edge.
  1. Kevin Remenap: The offensive line. Our not-ready-for-primetime players are facing a playoff-tested, but injury depleted Seattle team. Can the front-five give Stafford time to exploit the once-fearsome Seattle secondary? Will Zach Zenner continue to find creases and move the chains? The game will be decided by the play of the guys up front.
  1. Michael Berson: Lions’ second half performance. The Lions have a combined 10 points (3 if you take out a garbage time Hail Mary) in the last two games. They were close with both Dallas and Green Bay heading into halftime but fell off a cliff and couldn’t score for their life in the second half. No team, even New England, would be able to win like that. The Lions are going to need a strong game, especially in the second half, if they want to move on in the playoffs.

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Predictions:

Von Lozon (8-8): This is one of the easiest predictions I’ve written up this year. On the road in Seattle? Three losses to end the regular season? Injuries all over the place? Do the Lions have a chance? Absolutely, but they aren’t going to win. I guarantee that. But if for some reason I am wrong, give me all the wrath you could possibly throw my way. Seahawks 30, Lions 17

Kyle Mallett (9-7): Whether the game will be a close contest or a major blowout is certainly up for debate. What’s not debatable is the fact that there’s no way in hell the Lions win this game. With the exception of one playoff win in 1991, the Lions have never won a big, meaningful game in the modern NFL era. I can definitely see this being a closer game than most might expect, but Seattle’s crowd will make it a miserable night for Detroit, and Russell Wilson will do enough to lead his team to the next round of the playoffs. Seahawks 35, Lions 24

Kent Platte (8-8): I don’t really expect this game to be close. The Lions haven’t shown they can make positive second half adjustments in weeks and seem to be going against everything that works once the first half ends. Seattle is a tough matchup, and it’s winnable, but I’m not confident coaching pulls this one out. Seahawks 17, Lions 14

Nick Kostora (8-8): Detroit can and should try just about anything to surprise Seattle, but the Lions have proven they cannot beat good teams this season, and a road test against Seattle isn’t going to be the game where the Lions suddenly figure things out against a quality opponent. Watching Aaron Rodgers move around in the pocket and find open receivers last week was just a precursor to the mobility Russell Wilson will display in this game. Seahawks 31, Lions 17

Kevin Remenap (9-7): Without Earl Thomas, the Seahawks’ defense has been plain average. The Lions have been average offensively against playoff teams over the past three weeks. Who will out-mediocre the other? I think the Lions have a few too many holes to overcome Russell Wilson and his playoff experiences mates. Seahawks 24, Lions 21

Michael Berson (8-8): The last time Caldwell was coaching for his job he went on a winning streak. So against my better judgment, I’m going to pick the Lions. I think Caldwell will start to feel the pressure again and do just enough to try and keep his job. If the 49ers were able to put up 23 points on Seattle, there is hope for the Lions to do that, if not more. Lions 21, Seahawks 14

 

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