The Detroit Lions are in desperate need of a rebound victory. The frustration of the blown lead against the Minnesota Vikings is going to sting for a while, and Detroit needs to right those wrongs immediately against the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday.
The Lions are limping into Week 4, missing some very important players due to injury. They are missing five starters on all units, which could play a significant role in the outcome of the game.
Seattle will walk into Ford Field with the same 1-2 record as the Lions. The Seahawks also blew a lead in dramatic fashion when losing to the Atlanta Falcons last week at home. The loss dropped them to a three-way tie for second in the NFC West behind the Los Angeles Rams.
Detroit is the only team in their division with a losing record and can't afford to lose any more ground. Even with the injuries on their roster, this is more than a winnable game against Seattle. With a few remarkable individual performances, the Lions should leave Ford Field with a much-needed victory.
Here are 3 Detroit Lions players who need a standout performance for a Lions’ victory:
1. TE TJ Hockenson
It has been an underwhelming start to the 2022-23 season for Hockenson. So far, he is fourth on the team with only ten total catches for 82 yards and one touchdown in three games. The first-round tight end also has a frustrating habit of only being productive early in the game. He tends to disappear in the second half and hasn't shown to be a reliable red zone target.
Detroit Lions Quarterback Jared Goff is possibly going into this game without two of his most reliable receivers. No. 1 option Amon-Ra St. Brown has been ruled out from an ankle injury, and receiver Josh Reynolds is questionable with the same injury. This is a perfect opportunity for Hockenson to show his value with the limited weapons around the offense.
Goff has favored the intermediate routes across the middle all season so far, which is where a tight end should thrive. In search of a contract extension, Hockenson needs a dominant performance against a Seattle pass defense that is missing safety Jamal Adams.
2. CB Amani Oruwariye
After getting called out by Seahawks star receiver D.K. Metcalf, the easy guess for a standout performance might be Jeff Okudah. However, Okudah has outperformed Justin Jefferson, Terry McLaurin, and DeVonta Smith this season already. That production hasn't followed up in victories in each game, and it also allowed dominant performances by the receivers on the opposite side.
While Okudah kept Smith under control, Oruwariye allowed ten catches and 155 yards to A.J. Brown. Last week was Okudah's best game limiting Jefferson all game, but Oruwariye surrendered six catches for 61 yards, a touchdown, and five crushing penalties against Adam Thielen.
This week doesn't get any easier for the Detroit Lions' 26-year-old cornerback as he will draw shifty receiver Tyler Lockett for the majority of the game. Okudah versus Metcalf will be the biggest draw because of the pregame commentary, but the Lions cannot afford another stinker from Oruwariye.
3. LB Malcolm Rodriguez
The Detroit Lions historically have allowed mediocre-to-poor quarterbacks to have their best career performances against their defense. Matt Flynn and Mitch Trubisky built unexpected longevity on the back of how they played against Detroit. This week cannot be the game where they let veteran Geno Smith into that infamous club. Smith is a 31-year-old journeyman on his fourth team, and the Lions need to treat him as such.
This matchup is calling for another big day from rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez. He has offered great help in run support, pass coverage and pressuring the quarterback. His instincts and versatility need to be top-notch to limit the Seahawks' offense.
Detroit's young defensive line has done a good job of getting pressure on quarterbacks, but their inexperience has been on high display. While they've done a good job getting in the backfield, they also have been burned by letting the quarterback slide up to run for crucial yards. The last thing the Detroit Lions want is to give the Seahawks extra life by surrendering big gashes by quarterback scrambles.
Smith is looking to establish himself on a Seattle team with little direction after trading away Russell Wilson this offseason. Rodriguez can offer extra defensive protection by getting to their quarterback as often as possible. Smith has also thrown three of his four touchdowns to tight ends. Expect a big workload for Rodriguez in pass coverage as well against Seattle's active tight ends.