If you would prefer a rematch with the Falcons to another showdown with the Cowboys in Arlington (which is likely), you should be rooting for the Lions in this game.
The Lions are seeded 6th so if they can find a way to beat Wilson and the ‘Hawks, they will have the Cowboys next as the lowest seeded winning team. That sets up a trip to Atlanta for the winner of the Packers Giants game. The Packers have played well recently in Atlanta though they came up one point short earlier in the year. The Packers have had success in Arlington as well but it was back in 2011 against the Steelers.
Travelling to Seattle after losing a chance at an NFC North title will be a tall order for the Lions. One of their play-makers, LB DeAndre Levy, is still questionable to play which would be a big hit to the Lions’ chances in this game. The Seahawks are on a losing streak but most of their troubles have been in games on the road. At home, the crowd noise and a Seattle team that hangs its hat on great defense will be a tall order for a Lions team that rarely sees the playoffs and never wins in the playoffs.
The lack of a Seattle running game will mean that the Lions will have to find a way to stop Russell Wilson. Wilson is dangerous with his arm and his legs and he knows what it takes to win in the playoffs. Offensively, one would not expect the Seahawks to suddenly find a run game and that means the Seattle offensive hopes will lie with Wilson. The Lions D-line is stout with Ansah and N’gata but they will have to resist the urge to over-pursue if they don’t want Wilson to gash them. In the backfield, the Lions now have the benefit of a one-week-healthier Darius Slay who can eliminate wide receiver weapons for entire games at a time.
The Lions’ offense begins and ends with Matt Stafford. Stafford has had a brilliant season in a year that saw the exit of Calvin Johnson and has led the team to victory from behind in 8 games this year. But this is the playoffs and Stafford, who missed a couple shot plays to open receivers against the Packers, will need to make those if his team is to have a chance tonight.
I have the Lions in an upset in this one. The key will be to quiet the crowd with a fast start and extend drives to keep Wilson and the Seahawks offense off the field. The defense of the ‘Hawks is not what it used to be and though it will be a challenge, I think Stafford can have some success. The Seahawks have had so much success at home and in the playoffs that they definitely have the advantage in experience. But the Lions are hungry and I think Stafford scores enough to get them a win with a late-game drive.
So that is my read on tonight’s game. What do you think? Will the Lions have enough in the tank to beat the Seahawks? Let me know in the comments below or in the comment stream back on the FaceBook Fanpage.