Place: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
The Detroit Lions have been unable to replicate the hot start that carried them to the playoffs in 2011 and are sitting in last place in the NFC North. Nothing has come as easy in 2012, when the Lions have had trouble holding onto the football in key situations and even the Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson combination seems flat.
The Seattle Seahawks have the type of defense that can make life miserable for both Stafford and Johnson, but they might have just as many problems on offense.
The Seahawks pulled off an upset of the New England Patriots in Week 6 but fell flat at San Francisco last Sunday, scoring a season-low six points. That dropped Seattle to 1-3 on the road, a record it will be looking to improve when it visits Detroit on Sunday afternoon. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has shown flashes of brilliance but has been plagued by turnovers outside of the Northwest.
Seattle Seahawks (4-3): Wilson was strong in a three-touchdown performance against the Patriots but returned to some rookie mistakes in San Francisco, completing just 9 of 23 passes with no touchdowns and an interception. In four games on the road, Wilson has two touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 58.9 completion percentage.
The rookie will be taking on a Lions secondary that ranks sixth in the NFL against the pass. No matter how Wilson and the offense have performed, the defense has consistently been a bright spot for Seattle. The Seahawks are third in the NFL in scoring defense, surrendering just 15.1 points, and rank in the top 10 against both the pass and the rush. Seattle owns the league’s biggest secondary and has had no trouble matching up with top receivers so far. Richard Sherman will draw the assignment on Johnson.
Detroit Lions (2-4): Detroit turned the ball over three times in the red zone in Monday’s 13-7 loss at the Chicago Bears and did not find the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. Of the Lions’ two wins, one came in overtime at Philadelphia in Week 6 and the other was on opening weekend, when Stafford needed a last-second touchdown pass to secure a 27-23 triumph over St. Louis. Johnson, who led all NFL wide receivers with 16 TDs in 2011, has only one score through the first six games and was held to a season-low three catches on Monday despite being targeted 11 times.
Stafford and Johnson are not getting much help from the running game. All three running backs that dressed on Monday fumbled and the team is averaging less than 100 yards on the ground.
1. Stafford is the only starting NFL QB without a first-half TD pass in 2012. He is tied for the most first-half interceptions with five.
2. Lions WR Nate Burleson (broken right leg) was placed on injured reserve. Former Cleveland Browns WR Brian Robiskie was signed to take his place.