NFL Monday Night Preview: Lions vs. Seahawks

Richard-ShermanIt’s a safe bet to say that things aren’t exactly going to plan for the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks so far, through the first three weeks of the NFL season.

When you look at Detroit, the Lions are still in the hunt for their first win down 0-3, and the sad thing fr Seattle is that the defending NFC champions don’t even look like the strongest team in their own division. These two teams will face up and be put under close scrutiny on Monday Night Football in a pivotal conference matchup taking place at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.

The Lions have not started this badly since 2010, when they lost their first four games en route to a sluggish 6-10 finish. It might be too early to bury them after only three games, but an 0-3 start is a massive hole to crawl out of for a Lions team that is trying to set up back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since their golden era, the mid-90s. Without Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on the defensive line, the Lions are getting run over. Last season, the team ranked in the top five in rushing yards against. This season, the run defense ranks 17th in yards given up and 31st in rushing touchdowns allowed.

The odds are also against them too if you’re a bettor. The long historical odds to reach the postseason are daunting (only three teams in the past 25 seasons have done it after dropping their first three games), but their schedule is not helping them out either with Arizona coming to Detroit next week. There is a serious possibility that they could go 0-5 to start the season and basically end it there.

It reeks of the gloom and doom scenarios local media cooked up after the Seahawks made a 0-2 start. Anxieties were eased somewhat after a 26-0 win over the lowly Bears last week, after the Seahawks lost their first two games, but those games weren’t against easy competition since they lost to tough teams such as the Green Bay Packers and St. Louis Rams. They still have an uphill battle to face in re-establishing their dominance in the NFC and making teams respect them. There is some good news though, and that’s there’s still plenty of time to get their season kicking, a similar slow start to last year’s struggle coming back from a 3-3 start.

But oddsmakers shouldn’t write them off yet! Recently it hasn’t been that unusual for teams with losing records through the first three games of the season, to eventually make it to the playoffs. For example, last season both Green Bay and Indianapolis recovered from 1-2 starts. In 2012 and 2013 seasons they had a combined 10 teams qualify for th e playoffs after losing two of their first three games. So it’s still in the realm of possibility.

Our prediction sees the Seahawks playing fiercely and getting back on track hitting the .500 mark with a win tonight, and that’s based on the historical trends holding true. Which one? The one that saw Seattle winning nine straight Monday Night Football games in a row, they are currently tied for the second-longest streak ever. The only team who did it longer streak was the Oakland Raiders, who won 14 in a row from 1975-81.

The Seahawks have something to play for, since they have to win this game to keep pace in the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals have been playing amazingly slotted in at 3-1, so a loss tonight would be devastating to Seattle. They will be playing without Matshawn Lynch, so that will hurt a little, but the Lions running game is even worse.

Seattle’s odds look good on both sides, and with home field advantage and the 12th man behind their backs, they should be able to keep the Lions at bay.