A season could be on the line for the Lions Sunday, as they play host to rookie QB Russell Wilson and the Seahawks at home in a critical week 8 game that they simply have to have.
Sitting 2-4, Detroit has won just one home game this year, and if they want to get in any type of playoff race in the NFC North or the NFC at all, they have to have this game.
The Lions are at the bottom of the NFC North and committed three red-zone turnovers – four overall – in Monday night’s 13-7 loss at Chicago. Only 18 of the 208 teams that started the season with the same record have made the playoffs, most recently accomplished by Tim Tebow-led Denver last season.
Matthew Stafford finished 28 of 46 for 263 yards and a late touchdown pass to Ryan Broyles – just his fifth through six games after having 15 at the same point a year ago.
“Talk is cheap,” Stafford said. “We can talk about taking care of the football. We can talk about making sure we’re on the same page. We can talk about making plays, but we just have to go out there and do it.”
For the Hawks, they also are looking to rebound, as they fell to NFC West rival San Fran on the road a week ago Thursday in a game they feel they should have won.
Russell Wilson threw a fourth-quarter interception in a 13-6 loss to San Francisco on Oct. 18 that kept the Seahawks (4-3) from taking over first place in the NFC West.
Despite coming away with points on 16 of their 18 trips to the red zone, Seattle has scored a TD only a third of the time – the NFC’s worst success rate.
“You’ve got to score touchdowns when you get in the red zone,” fullback Michael Robinson said. “Three points just isn’t going to do it.”
Wilson finished 9 of 23 for 122 yards and went only 3 of 10 for 19 yards in the second half. He has led Seattle to victories in each of its three home games while throwing six touchdowns and zero interceptions with a 116.9 passer rating, but he’s tossed seven picks with a 55.7 rating in his road starts.
Despite that clear discrepancy, coach Pete Carroll is confident his rookie quarterback will continue to improve – though he won’t have receiver Doug Baldwin (ankle) at Ford Field.
“We’ve noticed the numbers are quite a bit different there,” Carroll said. “He’s grown, he’s corrected things, he’s totally in control poise-wise. I think he can do special things. It’s just going to take time. We’re expecting him to have a great second half of the season.”
Look for the Lions to take shots – a lot of them – downfield against the Seattle secondary. The key will be keeping Stafford on his feet, and making sure they get some type of run game in the process.
The Lions should be able to pressure Wilson, but they can’t allow Marshawn Lynch to get off in the run game, or it could open up play action down the field for Seattle.
The Lions need to get a win here to get on track, while the Hawks are 4-3, but just 1-3 on the road. If Detroit falls here, their season is going to be is serious trouble at 2-5. Seattle’s D should do enough vs Stafford, but look for he and Calvin Johnson to finally get on track for two scores, enough to get a home win.
Detroit 23 Seattle 21