With no Seahawks game on Sunday, I’m free to obsess about my fantasy football team, who’s already in a deep, dark hole thanks to Steve Smith getting injured in last night’s slugfest between the Ravens and Steelers. In an effort to distract myself from what will surely be the first loss of many for Catalina Wine Mixer, I’ll try to focus on the real, important game on Monday night.
The Lions come to town! Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, the return of Golden Tate, a criminally underused running game, a Suh-less defense. It should actually be a pretty entertaining contest, even though the oddsmakers are predicting a Seahawks blowout.
What we’ve got going for us is that their offensive line is also a total and complete mess, hence why they struggle rushing the ball even though they’ve got an exciting rookie runner in Ameer Abdullah. The Seahawks SHOULD have little trouble keeping their ground attack at bay once again, while at the same time generating significant pressure on their quarterback. The fact that this is being played in Seattle only bolsters that argument.
What we’ve also got going for us is that their defense isn’t anything special. So, in short, what I’m telling you is that this is pretty much every single Detroit Lions team we’ve ever seen since Barry Sanders retired. Haloti Ngata is a big ol’ widebody and might pose some challenges to our running game. But, he’s a significant step down from Ndamukong Suh in every way there is to be a defensive tackle, so I’m not too worried. My worry MAY increase if Marshawn Lynch is sidelined again, but I liked what I saw from Rawls last week. And, of course, the real question is whether our O-Line is improved enough to handle even a mediocre defense that the Lions may throw at us. Don’t be shocked if, yet again, our offense starts slowly and frustrates for most of the first half.
Let me put it this way: if I’m in a sportsbook while this game is going on, I’d put a large wager on the Seahawks being down at halftime (or, at the very least, not covering the halftime spread), parlayed with the Under. Then, at half, hit up the sportsbook to bet the Seahawks to cover and the game to just crack the Over. It’s a risky bet, but if I’ve seen any Seahawks games the last few years, I think it’s a winning one.
From everyone I’ve read, this game (more than most) should hinge on turnovers. Matthew Stafford is a slob with the football, throwing interceptions like he’s dropping a plate full of spaghetti & meatballs on my God damned brand new carpet! On the flip, the Seahawks have 0 interceptions and only 4 recovered fumbles in the first three games. I wouldn’t worry about our defense in the creating-turnovers regard (the Bears were playing offensive football like old people fuck, and the Packers are the Packers and Aaron Rodgers doesn’t get picked off at home), but I think it’s also a little misguided to just expect the Seahawks to pick off Stafford 2-3 times in this game.
You know what you get with a game in Seattle. You know you have to be extra extra EXTRA careful with the football, or you’re going to get steamrolled. You also know that you’re most likely not going to connect on anything deep (especially when you can’t get Michael Bennett to jump offsides due to all the crowd noise). So, as we’ve seen with almost everyone who’s played against us, expect a lot of shorter throws to open receivers. Expect Stafford to complete a high percentage of those throws, leading to a lot of 2nd/3rd & shorts. If we get any picks, then either Matthew Stafford is a complete moron (which, you know, don’t rule it out), or more likely the ball was probably tipped up into the air.
Either way, turnovers or no turnovers, this is still a dangerous Lions offense. Yes, they’re 0-3, but they had to go all the way out to San Diego in week 1, then they had to go on the road to Minnesota in week 2, and they had to face the Broncos at home last week. The Chargers are like the Lions in a lot of ways, with the Lions blowing a huge lead in the second half thanks to some shoddy defense. The Vikings are probably better than we all expected, and they’ve got an up & coming defense that should carry them pretty far this year (at least in the hunt for a Wild Card). And, the Broncos have one of the best defenses in football. It’s going to take an A-Game out of our defense to match what the Broncos were able to do last week.
I’ll be really interested to see how the Seahawks look in this one. So far, we’ve looked like crap for the first two weeks (albeit, on the road, and without a full defense), then we played probably the worst football team in the league last week at home. This will be a good test to see where we are. Are we closer to the teams who botched it on the road? Or, are we closer to the dominant force we saw who shut out the Bears? This game could go a long way towards shedding some light on how good this team really is. If we blow it at home and fall to 1-3, we are in SEVERE trouble. But, if we win – even in a close, ugly game – I’ll feel a lot more comfortable about our chances going forward.
As it stands, I’m pretty confident the Seahawks will prevail. I’m sensing that this will be one of those standout Russell Wilson performances we tend to see so much in primetime games. I wouldn’t even be shocked if we see a 300-yard passing/100-yard rushing day out of our quarterback, with the wealth spread out generously among Graham, Baldwin, Kearse, and Lockett.