On first impression, it’s easy to wave the Detroit Lions off as just “happy to be here” for the NFL playoffs.
In many people’s opinions, the Lions “backed into” the postseason and didn’t show they could hang with the contenders in their last three games of the regular season.
However, if we have learned anything from history it is this – a team can go on a run at any moment and upsets can happen.
The Lions can beat the Seattle Seahawks in the wild-card round on Saturday night. Here are the three reasons why.
Avoid getting jobbed by the refs and batted balls
Seattle, like Detroit, has no run game
Long gone are the days when the Seahawks were sported one of the dominant running games in the NFL. After rushing for at least +2,000 yards every season since 2012, Seattle had only 1,591 in the 2016 regular season. That is the 7th worst rushing attack in the NFL this season. The Lions’ run defense is quite average on paper but they should be able to contain Seattle’s weak group of running backs and focus more on containing Russell Wilson and his receiving targets.
Avoid classic Lions collapses
The Legion of Boom is a shell of itself
Another narrative that I’ve heard thrown around in the last week is that the Lions won’t be able to pass the ball down the field on Seattle’s stellar secondary. Sorry, this isn’t 2013 and the Seahawk’s secondary is very vulnerable. A point to start with is that the Seahawks will be without their defensive safety net, Earl Thomas – who is out for the season with a leg injury. Per Football Outsiders, the Seahawks rank 13th in pass defense DVOA. That may seem above average but there have been times where it’s been quite easy for opposing quarterbacks to get the ball down the field. Look for Matthew Stafford & Co. to attack in the air often and try and steer away from Seattle’s suffocating rush defense.
Wear your lucky socks
The Seahawks weak link is its offensive line
It would highly behoove Lions’ defensive coordinator Teryl Austin to make it his mission to disrupt things in Seattle’s backfield and try his best to hit Russell Wilson hard and often. Seattle’s offensive line has given up 42 sacks this season and Wilson has been on and off the injury report for several ailments. If Detroit can find a way to expose Seattle’s lack of pass protection, then it would go a long way in securing the Lions’ first playoff victory in this millennium. Ziggy Ansah x-factor, much?