Since Russell Wilson came into the league, the Seahawks are 4-2 coming out of the BYE week. Does that mean anything? No it does not.
The two post-BYE losses happened in 2012 and 2015, exactly 3 years apart. It’s been 3 years since our last post-BYE defeat, ergo we’re due for another one in 2018. Does that mean anything? No it does not.
The Seahawks are as healthy as they’re ever going to be the rest of the year; now that DOES mean something. K.J. Wright is practicing again, Ed Dickson is ready to come off the PUP list, Rasheem Green is out there mixing it up. Doug Baldwin had an extra week to rest his knees. Our offensive linemen had an extra week to rest their everything. Russell Wilson’s hammy (or whatever) is another week fresher. And, everyone else who’s dealing with nagging whathaveyou’s, I’m sure, has enjoyed the break. Hell, even C.J. Prosise is probably … nah, let’s not go THAT far.
I don’t know if there’s necessarily ever a “perfect” time for a team to hit its BYE week, but this one was as good as it’s gonna get for this particular team in this particular year. Now, we hit the road to play the Detroit Lions, in an early 10am start after they beat up on the Dolphins in Miami the week prior.
By all accounts, I think the Seahawks are the better of the two teams. At worst, these two teams are dead even, which is what Vegas appears to think. The Lions are favored by 3 points, which is generally the figure granted to a team playing at home. That’s not the ONLY reason why I think the Lions will win on Sunday, but it’s up there.
In reviewing the respective schedules, it looks like the Lions have better-looking victories (Patriots, Packers, at Dolphins); while the Seahawks beat a mediocre Cowboys team at home, a bad Cardinals team on the road, and a God awful Raiders team in London. I guess we can all hang our hats on a close home defeat to the Rams, but that’s not really much comfort to me.
You can look at these two teams and see a clear advantage for both offenses. The Seahawks want to ground and pound; the Lions’ defense has been among the worst in the league in defending the run. They did just trade for Damon Harrison, who is a tremendous big body in the middle that should shore up that weakness, but can one guy really make that much of a difference? I guess we’ll see. I still like our O-Line an awful lot, and as long as those guys stay healthy, we should be able to open up some holes for Carson & Co.
The Lions’ offense, meanwhile, has traditionally been a more professional version of the Air Raid. Matthew Stafford just airing it out left and right, winning and losing on his powerful right arm. But, this year, with the introduction of rookie phenom Kerryon Johnson, they’re MUCH more balanced. I feel like Matt Patricia’s influence as their new head coach has a lot to say about how the offense is run this year. He’s seen what it takes to win, and for as good as Brady has been in his career, the Patriots have always had balance (especially late in the season, when the weather turns bad). The Seahawks’ defense is better than we all had any right to expect, but it’s been susceptible to the run game at times. Compound that with a lack of a pass rush, and the quick-strike ability of them to still kill you through the air, I think if anything this game is going to be high scoring. The over/under is 49.5, so officially put me in for the OVER.
What needs to happen for the Seahawks to prevail is we’re going to have to avoid allowing too many big plays. That’s sort of our specialty, so I wouldn’t expect it to be a problem, but if anyone will be able to fit the football into some tight windows down field, it’s Stafford. He’s that good and that reckless. Ideally, the Seahawks will take advantage of those times where he tries to bite off more than he can chew, and hopefully we’ll see a couple take-aways.
More than anything, the Seahawks are going to need to be efficient passing the ball. The way I see this game going might be a little different than everyone else. We’ve seen the Seahawks – over their last 4 games – really dominate with the run and see excellent results. But, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy this time around. I think there will be SOME rushing, but we won’t overwhelm them. Where we can make some hay is through the air. The Lions are pretty stingy with their passing yards allowed, but they’re among the worst in the league as far as passer rating is concerned. That’s where the Seahawks can shine. Stick with the rushing gameplan, by all means, but know when to strike through the air. There will be opportunities to hit the Lions with deep balls, and we’re going to have to connect on them to make this thing happen.
All of that being said, do I see a Seahawks victory on Sunday? I honestly don’t. It’s more of a gut feeling than anything else.
We have these weird, flukey games every season in the early going. Last year, in week 3, we lost a shootout to the Titans of all teams. The year before that, we had that wonky loss down in New Orleans. In 2015, we had that overtime defeat to the Bengals where we blew a late lead. In 2014, it was a week 2 loss in 100+ degree heat in San Diego. And, who can forget the shootout loss in Indy in 2013 to Andrew Luck? Don’t get me started on our 2012 loss to the very same Lions in Detroit. The score was 28-24, and I see something awfully similar happening this time around.
What do all of those losses have in common? They were all against pretty good-to-great quarterbacks, they were all on the road in the first half of their respective seasons, and they were all games where our offense ostensibly did enough to win the game, but the defense just didn’t have what it took to put those teams away. Sometimes, the Seahawks take control early and gag it away late; sometimes the other team goes up big and we mount a furious comeback that falls just short. I could see either one of those things happening on Sunday.
What I can’t see is a Seahawks victory. I hope I’m wrong. Because the Seahawks REALLY need this one if we want to contend for a playoff spot.