In the second edition of Wild Card Weekend, the Detroit Lions limp into Seattle with the Seahawks in their crosshairs. The Lions have been firing and missing aplenty lately. Detroit comes in with a record of 9-7, which could have been much better than that. The only reason they were able to find a way into the playoffs was because of a choke job by Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins in the final week of the season. The Redskins had everything to gain, and the Giants nothing to lose, but it was the Giants who ultimately ended it all for the Redskins. The Lions’ fate was in their own hands, though. They didn’t have to rely on a Washington loss to make the playoffs, beating the Packers would have gave them the NFC North title and a spot in the postseason. The Lions in typical Lions’ fashion couldn’t get the job done. As a result, they are licking their wounds as they go to Seattle for the Wild Card Round.
The Lions have lost three games in a row on the heels of five wins straight. It was looking possible that the Lions were going to be hosting a playoff game for the first time since the early 1990’s. Then it started to look like they weren’t going to be playing in the playoffs at all. Thankfully for them, the Giants were able to come to their aid and help the Lions out in a big way. The Lions owe it to them to send them a special thank you package in the main. After all of the dust settled though, the Lions are playing the Seahawks in the first-round of the NFL Playoffs.
The Seahawks are a favorite to make it to the Super Bowl. There are a couple of hurdles to climb, however. They definitely can’t overlook the Lions, because there are some teams going to be standing in their pathway that they may be looking ahead at. We all know how dangerous the New York Giants can be in the playoffs, and then the Dallas Cowboys have been the hottest team in football this season. In no way do the Seahawks have an easy path to the Super Bowl. In the same sense, though, all of the attention is on the Cowboys. I have seen a lot of predictions saying whoever comes out between the Cowboys and Giants will have travel plans to Houston. There is a little team known as the Seattle Seahawks in the northwest who might have something to say about that. Let’s get to the pick for this NFC Wild Card matchup.
Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks NFL Wild Card Round Betting Odds:
Lions +8 (-110)
vs. Seahawks -8(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Lions vs. Seahawks Pick:
The Lions make a return trip to Seattle, after they felt they got screwed out of a win last year on MNF. Calvin Johnson was about a yard away from securing a touchdown and win for the Lions, but the ball was fumbled into the end zone, which resulted in K.J. Wright punching the ball out of bounds. Players are not allowed to do that, but the refs incorrectly handled it and didn’t throw a flag. The Seahawks ultimately won 13-10 but it wasn’t without controversy. The Lions will have to find a way to garner that frustration and translate it into a victory.
The Lions’ offense went dormant over the final few weeks of the regular season. They averaged just 17 points across the last three weeks while allowing 30 points. Yeah, I would say that is the recipe for a bunch of losses. I really never expected the Lions to have a quality defense, but there is supposed to be some offense there. Matthew Stafford had a solid year though, passing for 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. It was the lack of a running game that kept them from exploding. The Lions were 30th in the NFL running the ball, averaging just 81.9 yards per game. Zach Zenner did give the Lions a bit of a life in the final couple of weeks, but there was still no explosiveness to be had. Consequently, it puts a lot of weight on Matthew Stafford to make zero mistakes and play A+ football.
The Lions averaged 21.6 points per game this season overall. Not good for a team who needs to lean on their offense. In other words, they haven’t done anything particularly well this year. Seattle owns that impressive defense, a unit which allowed 318 yards per game for 5th in the NFL. Additionally, they surrendered 18.2 points per game. The offense improved in the second-half of the season as well. They figured the offensive line problems out and steadily improved. The Seahawks climbed all of the way up to 12th in offense. They averaged 26.7 points per game over the final three weeks. Not astonishing, but factor in how well their defense plays and it’s a sizable margin of victory for the Seahawks. I fail to see how Detroit gets out of Seattle with no running game. No Earl Thomas is going to hurt the Seahawks later in the playoffs, but not today against the Lions. Seahawks win and they win comfortably.
PICK: SEAHAWKS -8 (-110)