NFL Wild Card Weekend
Detroit Lions vs Seattle Seahawks Preview
The Seattle Seahawks are making their fifth consecutive playoff appearance on the heels of trading wins and losses over their last six games, while the Detroit Lions’ bid to capture the NFC North title was dashed by three straight defeats to end the season. Both teams will look to get it in gear on Saturday night. They will meet in a wild card tilt at CenturyLink Field in Seattle (Enter contest).
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, along with quarterback Russell Wilson, has yet to suffer a playoff loss in the Pacific Northwest. Detroit hasn’t won a postseason game since 1991. Wilson (career-high 4,219 passing yards) threw a touchdown pass in a 25-23 victory over San Francisco on Sunday and found Doug Baldwin for a scoring strike in the last encounter with the Lions, resulting in Seattle’s 13-10 triumph on October 5, 2015.
While Wilson reportedly is contemplating removing his knee brace for the playoffs, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said he hasn’t been affected by wearing a glove on his throwing hand to protect an injured finger, although he has registered two touchdowns and three interceptions in his last three games after recording 22 TDs and seven picks prior to the injury. Stafford threw for 347 yards and two scores in a 31-24 setback against Green Bay on Sunday and has averaged 351.5 yards in two career playoff appearances.
ABOUT THE LIONS (9-7)
Former Seattle wideout Golden Tate overcame a horrendous start to the season to lead the team with 1,077 receiving yards, with 404 and two touchdowns coming on 33 receptions in his last four road games. Tate has made himself at home in his third season with Detroit after signing a five-year, $31 million contract on the heels of helping the Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII. Zach Zenner has given Detroit’s 30th-ranked rushing game a jolt with 136 yards and three touchdowns in his last two contests. Defensive end Kerry Hyder recorded six of his team-leading eight sacks on the road this campaign.
ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (10-5-1)
Seattle’s ground game has struggled to get untracked since the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, with Thomas Rawls plagued by multiple injuries while Christine Michael (now with Green Bay) and C.J. Prosise (shoulder) also saw their paths to stardom slowed. Wideouts Jermaine Kearse (six touchdowns in seven career playoff games) and Baldwin (four TDs in last six postseason contests) have come up large in the passing game. Former Lion Cliff Avril recorded six of his team-leading 11.5 sacks in his last six home games while fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett has registered one in back-to-back postseason contests.Line backer Bobby Wagner led the NFL and set a franchise single-season record with 167 tackles in the regular season.