This Saturday, the Detroit Lions go on the road and play the Seattle Seahawks in one of the NFC Wild Card games. Here are five matchup’s to pay attention to for this game.
Matthew Stafford vs. Seattle’s Cornerbacks
This will be one of the more interesting matchups when looking at this game. Matthew Stafford is still playing some of his best football despite having a finger injury on his throwing hand and despite missing their running back, Theo Riddick, who is one of the more efficient pass catchers for the Lions. Seattle’s defensive backs are known for playing tight man-to-man coverage and being absolute ball hawks.
It will be very intriguing to see how Matthew Stafford adjusts to this type of defense and to see what kind of audibles he will make to see when reading the defense to see if he can drive down the field on a defense that has been one of the top in the league for the past few years.
Detroit’s D-Line vs. Seattle’s O-Line
This may be the matchup that determines how this game will go for the Detroit Lions. If they are unable to get pressure on Russell Wilson and actually sack him, then expect him to have a field day against the Lions defense.
These past few weeks against Dallas and Green Bay have showed that when the Lions cannot get pressure, the quarterbacks are able to find openings in the defense because they have so much time to throw. Against Green Bay, the Lions were able to get pressure a few times, but were unsuccessful in bringing Aaron Rodgers down, which led to him moving around in the pocket and begin able to find wide open receivers.
Russell Wilson thrives in those type of plays so if the Lions want to stop him from doing this, not only do they have to bring pressure, but they must sack him if they want to keep him contained.
Doug Baldwin vs. Darius Slay
This will be a matchup to watch based off of talent alone. Doug Baldwin is one of the best receivers that Seattle has and is an absolute force to be reckoned with when the playoffs come around.
Darius Slay is one of the better cornerbacks in today’s game and we should see him guarding Baldwin the whole game. This will be a feature matchup to watch all game and it could be a play by one of these players down the stretch of the game that could determine who walks out of Seattle the winner.
Jimmy Graham vs. Anybody guarding him
This will be another matchup that will really be intriguing to watch. All of the Lions’ linebackers are more run stoppers than pass coverage linebackers and Jimmy Graham is always a matchup nightmare.
It will be interesting to see how Lions Defensive Coordinator Taryl Austin decides to handle to decide who will cover Graham because whoever he puts on him will be debated from the opening kick just because of how much of a presence he is on the field.
Football is a sport that comes down to every aspect of the game. Special teams are definitely one of those major factors that could determine the outcome. The Lions have one of the best punters in the league, Sam Martin, while the Seahawks have one of the best special teams units in the NFL.
Special teams’ plays may be a huge factor in this game because this could be a game of field position, and plays by either the return man or defenders could be that extra effort that determines who wins this game.
Overall, Seattle has all of the momentum going into this game. They are playing a team that “backed in” their way into the playoffs and they have home field advantage. All signs point that they are easily the favorite to win this game.
But, do not sleep on the Lions. We have had instances where a team has made the Super Bowl when playing every game on the road (Look at Aaron Rodgers, Ben Rothelisberger, Eli Manning, etc.), so if it is Matthew Stafford’s time, this would be a great start to go into Seattle and upset the Hawks.