Lions vs. Seahawks 5Qs preview: Optimism is difficult to find in Seattle

Pride of Detroit

Okay, last week is done. It’s over with and we’re not going to think about it anymore. It’s time to move on. Onto the Seattle Seahawks. A team that, like the Detroit Lions, are in transition after losing their long-time starting quarterback.

There’s an interesting thing to this game. The Lions are playing a quarterback that they haven’t played against in almost exactly eight years. Geno Smith was the starting quarterback for the New York Jets back in 2014 when the Lions went to the meadowlands and won 24-17. Obviously, there are no players currently on the Lions roster that played in that game.

This game seems concerning. The Lions are coming off a bad week and the way they respond to this game could tell us a lot. You have to worry that the Lions might respond by falling into the clutches of the trap game and lose. The Seahawks seem like a beatable opponent, but they also seem like a total mystery. We wanted to learn about this team, so we reached out to our pal John P. Gilbert from Field Gulls to get the scoop. Here’s what he had to say:

The Seahawks shocked everyone when they beat the Broncos in Week 1, but they’ve struggled since. What are your thoughts on the season so far?

“It was certainly fantastic to come away from Week 1 with a victory over Russell Wilson and the Broncos, but there was a whole lot that had to go right for the Hawks to squeak out of that game with a one-point win. Nate Hackett’s horrific game management at the end has taken most of the attention, but that was only after losing a fumble at the Seattle two-yard line and then, on the next possession, losing a fumble at the one-yard line. It’s often better to be lucky than good, and while a lot of the luck in Week 1 was the result of preparation, it’s not the type of thing that tends to be repeatable.

“That said, Week 2 and Week 3 were a lot more in line with what most fans were expecting, though Week 2 was certainly on the extreme end of the pessimistic outlook.”

What is this teams strength?

“To be quite honest, I am tempted to simply leave this blank. Jason Myers is one of just eight kickers who has yet to miss a field goal or extra point, so that’s a positive. Michael Dickson is in the top five for punting average?

“To address this in a more serious manner, to this point there hasn’t been an area in which the team truly excelled to where something could be called a strength. The tight ends have been extremely productive when opponents covered them with linebackers, but the instant defenses use defensive backs on the tight end trio they become non-factors. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have been their usual selves, but the offense has yet to really challenge opponents down the field much, meaning the skills of this duo haven’t really been able to shine through. There are position groups giving a significant amount of playing time to youngsters, including at cornerback where Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant are rookies starting at outside cornerback and nickel, respectively, and have played about as well as one could hope for a pair of Day 3 rookies thrown into the fire, and they could develop into a very good tandem in time. On the offensive line, the rookie tackles have struggled at times, but they’re rookies and have likely struggled less than many expected, giving hope for a solid future in that position group.

“But as of right now, it’s difficult to reference any part of what we have seen from the Seahawks as a strength.”

What is their weakness?

“Second half offense. Through three games the team has scored just ten second-half points, putting nothing on the board in the second half against the Broncos in Week 1, a lone touchdown in the second half against the 49ers in Week 2, and a field goal against Atlanta in Week 3. Making matters worse, that lone touchdown was scored on a blocked field goal attempt that was returned for a touchdown, meaning the defense and special teams outscored the offense in the second half during the month of September.

“A big piece of the problem seems to be the inability to counter after teams adjust to take away the tight ends. Will Dissly, Noah Fant, and Colby Parkinson have been key parts of the gameplan in the first half against the Broncos (17 points scored in the half) and in the first half against the Falcons (20 points scored in the first half), but have completely disappeared as the offense stalled in the second half of those games.”

The Lions are currently favored by 6. [Editor’s note: It has since dropped to 4] Are you taking that bet?

Upon first glance that feels a little rich for my tastes, but then thinking about how potent the Detroit offense has been through the first three weeks of the season and combining that with the inability of the Seattle defense to really slow opponents so far this season, and yeah, that’s a bet I’m taking. In addition, it will be the first of back-to-back long road trips and 10 AM starts for the Seahawks who play in New Orleans in Week 5, and it’s certainly a recipe for a slow start for the Hawks. And, if they get off to a slow start, and then face issues scoring in the second half like they have through the first three weeks of the season, all while facing the second highest scoring team in the league? I like the Lions to cover in that situation.”

Who wins this thing?

“As much as I’d love for the Seahawks to come out of this game at .500, between the long road trip, the early start, and the potential for an ugly matchup between the Lions offense and the Seahawks defense, I get that feeling that it’s a game that’s close in the first half before the Lions start to pull away in the second half. Certainly not the outcome I would have predicted on March 7 before The Trade sent Russell Wilson to Denver, but at this point I think losing to a team quarterbacked by Jared Goff, who I have mocked relentlessly for years as a Seahawks fan, might sting more than losing to the Lions.”

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