Lions at Seahawks
► Kickoff: 4:25 p.m., Sunday, Lumen Field, Seattle
► TV/radio: Fox/97.1
► Records: Lions 2-12-1, Seahawks 5-10
► Line: Seattle by 6.5
Detroit News contributor Steve Kornacki breaks down the Lions’ Week 17 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.
LIONS’ PASSING OFFENSE VS. SEAHAWKS’ SECONDARY
Detroit has only been able to put 20 up or more points three times this season. It beat the Arizona Cardinals, 30-12, and the Minnesota Vikings, 29-27. The only time the Lions have scored enough to win and lost was the season-opening 41-33 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers.
So, what’s the best avenue to score against Seattle?
Since the Seahawks; defense is tied for the NFL lead with only 3.7 yards allowed per carry, passing would seem to make the most sense. Seattle has allowed 4,064 yards in the air and only one defense has surrendered more. Their 7.3 yards per pass attempt allowed is also in the bottom third. Their eight interceptions are 26th.
But Seattle has a tremendous “ballhawk” in Quandre Diggs, a Pro Bowl free safety who has five interceptions. With 75 tackles, he’s also huge in stopping the running game.
Detroit sent him to the Seahawks for a fifth-round draft pick on Oct. 23, 2019, while also sending Seattle a seventh-round pick that was used to acquire defensive end Carlos Dunlap II (6.5 sacks).
Diggs has blossomed. He had six interceptions in 4.5 years with Detroit, and now has 13 picks in just over two years with Seattle.
Seahawks to watch
► Russell Wilson, QB: He’s a Super Bowl winner who has been one of the league’s top quarterbacks over the past decade. Wilson (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) missed four games earlier this season when he had surgery on his right middle finger, breaking his streak of 149 regular season and 165 games overall (including playoffs) dating to his rookie season. Wilson didn’t miss time with an ankle injury suffered earlier this month, and has thrown for 2,639 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s run 33 times for 154 yards (4.7-yard average) and one score.
► Bobby Wagner, MLB: He leads the NFL with a Seattle record 170 tackles, 77 solos. Wagner (6-0, 242) has made 1,298 tackles since Seattle drafted him in the second round in 2012 out of Utah State, where his 446 tackles tied the school record. Wagner recently was named to his eighth Pro Bowl, and is one off the franchise record of nine held by Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones.
► Tyler Lockett, WR: He has 65 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns. However, his receptions are down from a franchise-record 100 last year and so are his scores (10 TDs in 2020). However, his 16.2-yard average is more than 3 yards higher than his 1,000-yard seasons in 2020 and 2019.
Facts and figures
► Seattle has double-digit losses for the first time since 2009, when it went 5-11 and Jim Mora was replaced by Carroll, who has registered double-digit wins in eight of the last nine seasons and made the playoffs eight times. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl eight years ago under their winningest coach.
► Detroit’s field-goal kicking percentage is a very respectable .885 (ninth in the NFL) since losing Matt Prater to the Arizona Cardinals via free agency. Austin Seibert was 10-for-12 before his injury, and Ryan Santoso hit 2-of-3 before getting cut for missing an OT 48-yarder and extra point in the tie with Pittsburgh. Aldrick Rosas made his only attempt against Cleveland, and Riley Patterson has been 10-for-10 since being signed from New England’s practice squad.
► Seattle has the edge over Detroit in touchdowns (38-27) and the Lions have more turnovers with 20 to the Seahawks’ 11. That should add up to radically different records, but Detroit (2-12-1) has the NFC’s worst record while Seattle (5-10) is tied for the third-worst mark.
Steve Kornacki is a freelance writer.