By Dave Thomas
If you’re the Seattle Seahawks, you have to be loving the fact that you get to play another NFC North team next Monday night other than the Green Bay Packers.
After opening the season with NFC West Division foe St. Louis, Seattle (1-2) continues its trip through the NFC North Oct. 5, hosting a winless Detroit (0-3) team that many prognosticators likely had fighting those very same Packers for the division lead as September came to a head. In reality, the Lions have dropped games to San Diego, Minnesota and Denver to start the first month of the season.
So, can Seattle continue Detroit’s misery and keep the Lions with an egg on their record, or will Detroit put together a full 60-minute game and leave the Seahawks reeling?
Lions Proving Big Mystery
Coming into the season, the Lions were looking to improve upon last year’s performance, a season in which they finished second in the NFC North to Green Bay, ultimately landing them a Wild Card spot and a loss to Dallas on the road.
Despite losing free agent Ndamukong Suh (right defensive tackle) to the Miami Dolphins, thoughts were the Lions would still be competitive on the defensive side of the ball. Throw in an offense that features the likes of quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson, and Detroit has some weapons.
That said, the offense has not produced as expected, especially in the running game.
Detroit’s Running Game Going Nowhere
After three contests to date, Detroit’s rushing game is hardly something to brag about. Running back Ameer Abdullah leads the Lions with a mere 82 yards on the ground, hardly numbers that will instill fear into opposing defensives.
For Stafford, he has thrown for 814 yards, with Johnson leading the way in reception yardage with 20 catches for 199 yards and one TD. Not terrible numbers by any means, but again, not stats that have led to any Detroit victories.
On the defensive side of the ball, Detroit is led to date by linebacker Stephen Tulloch (23 tackles), safety Glover Quin (two INT’s) and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah with a pair of sacks.
In its season-opener, Detroit led San Diego 21-3, then watched the host Chargers rip-off 30 unanswered points in a 33-28 win for the Bolts.
In a matchup in Week 2 with division rival Minnesota (26-16 loss), the Lions watched veteran running back Adrian Peterson rush for 134 yards on 29 carries in the Vikings’ first win of the season.
Having dropped a pair of games on the road, the Lions hoped the friendly confines of Ford Field would assist them against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos this past Sunday evening, but Manning and Co. left Motown with a 24-12 win.
So, Seattle gets a team this coming Monday night that is clearly hungry for a win.
The Seahawks need to shut down Detroit’s running game as its first three opponents have for the most part. They also need to get solid pressure on Stafford and work their own offensive magic via Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham and either rookie running back Thomas Rawls or veteran Marshawn Lynch (injured hamstring versus Chicago). If all that can be done, it could be an 0-4 start for a Detroit team that can’t afford to fall too far behind the team that calls Lambeau Field home in the NFC’s North Division.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.