The second game of Wild-Card weekend takes place in Seattle with the Lions paying the Seahawks a visit. It’s a matchup between the No. 3 seed and a sixth-seeded Detroit team, but the gap between the two is much wider than those numbers would indicate. Seattle is a much better team that should have little trouble with the Lions, especially with the game at home.
Here are three reasons the Seahawks will take care of Detroit with ease and move on to face the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round.
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The Lions haven’t beaten anyone
The Packers? Nope. The Titans? Nope. The Giants, Cowboys or Texans? Nope, nope and, wait for it, nope. The Lions have struggled against good teams this season, beating just one opponent that finished with a winning record: the Redskins. That doesn’t make the Lions a bad team, per se, but they certainly haven’t proved themselves against the better squads in the NFL. Furthermore, they won only three road games, and Seattle is never an easy place to play.
As for Matthew Stafford, he’s certainly not a great big-game quarterback. Despite having eight comeback wins this season, he struggles on the road against strong opponents. He is 1-22 in his career in road games against teams that finished the season with a winning record, including 29 touchdowns and 29 turnovers. Yeah, that’s not good, and it won’t get any better against the Seahawks.
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Seattle will pressure Matthew Stafford into mistakes
Seattle’s defense looks substantially different without Earl Thomas roaming the middle of the field. He takes away the deep pass, plays the run like a speeding bullet and covers sideline to sideline better than any player in the NFL. Being without him hurts, but another aspect the Seahawks’ defense will step up: the pass rush. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, as well as Frank Clark, will feed off of the home crowd and rattle Stafford in the pocket.
The Lions didn’t handle the Giants’ pass rush in Week 15, and they won’t be able to overcome Seattle’s, either. Matthew Stafford will need to throw it 35-plus times to keep Detroit competitive, and that’s never ideal against the Seahawks. Predictability is a team’s worst nightmare, which the Lions certainly are.
The Seahawks are at home
Russell Wilson may not have had his best season ever in 2016, but when he’s A) playing at home and B) starting a postseason game, he’s nearly unbeatable. In his career, Wilson is 38-7 at home with three of those losses coming to the Cardinals. On the road, he’s 25-19-1. That’s a major difference and while he’s not the only reason for their success, he’s a big part of it.
In the postseason, he’s 4-1 at CenturyLink Field. Again, the rest of the team deserves credit, but he almost always performs well when playing in Seattle. The Seahawks are arguably the league’s best team at home and it’s the main reason Detroit has next to no chance in this game. The predicted conditions of 30 degrees and cloudy with a chance of rain will impact the dome-reliant Lions who have no resemblance of a running game offensively.