Monday Night Football Week #4: Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks

The National Football League Week #4 schedule rarely fails to present organizations in dire straits, in the win-loss container, and that is the situation for both teams tonight when the Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions meet up for a Monday Night Football event at CenturyLink Field.

Detroit (0-3) is trying to avoid its first 0-4 start since 2010 while Seattle (1-2) earned their first win of the 2015 regular season last week by defeating Chicago.

The last time these two National Football Conference organizations met,  three years ago, Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman offered up the Lions bulletin board material by offering to play the role of “Optimus Prime” to Calvin Johnson’s moniker of “Megatron.”  The situation for the Seahawks three years ago is different than this year’s extravaganza.  The Seahawks get set to host and desperate 0-3 Lions team, in a big Monday night setting, with the Seahawks needing to keep pace with division leader Arizona. This year Sherman doesn’t appear to be ready to deliver the same type of verbal challenge to Detroit and Johnson.

“I just haven’t had much of an opportunity to do anything. I guess if the world’s been more quiet, then I’ve been more quiet,” Sherman told the Seattle media on Saturday. “The opportunities just haven’t presented themselves. Those were perfect opportunities, and then you can’t do the same trick twice.”

Gameday Vitals
Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks (-9.5, 43)
Time: 8:30 PM ET, Monday, October 5, 2015
Venue: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
Weather: Clear with unseasonably warm temperatures for Seattle in October. The forecast calls for kick off temps in the mid-seventies with a 5 mph breeze from the northwest.

Heading into Week #4 of the 2015 NFL season on Thursday night in Pittsburgh there were four teams (Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions) without a win, and taking their turn tonight as one of those winless unfortunates,  Detroit is the league’s last standing club without a victory.

The Baltimore Ravens took down the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime on Thursday night. The Chicago Bears protected Soldier Field with a victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon, and the New Orleans Saints got on in the win column with an overtime win at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

There are no free-bees in the National Football League and no team is that much more talented than their foe to show up half-cocked with an attitude that they can’t lose. The Seahawks won’t be an easy opponent, but this is a must-win game. If the Lions lose, they’ll be the only team in the NFL to start the season with an 0-4 record and trail first place Green Bay (4-0) by four games.

The Lions stormed out to a 21-3 lead in San Diego in their 2015 season debut but eventually lost to Phillip Rivers and the Chargers. The Lions did their best disappearing act in Week #2 losing to the Minnesota Vikings by a  26-16 score and last week the failed against Peyton Manning and Denver 24-12 in their home opener.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has contributed to the team’s slow start throwing as many interceptions, five, as touchdown passes and the offensive line has done little to support rookie RB Ameer Abdullah in Detroit’s rushing attack. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson does have 20 receptions, but 18 of those has come over the last two contests.

The Motor City secondary has been the attack spot for opposing offensive coordinators in the first three weeks. Only the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints defenses have allowed the opposing signal-callers higher quarterback ratings in the first three games and only one team has less sacks than the Lions (4), that being the Miami Dolphins (1).

The question that has been most consuming in this matchup is Seattle’s shutout win over the Chicago Bears a week ago to earn their first “W” of the season.

Should we take the scoreless win by the Seahawks defense at face value or do we consider their opponent, Chicago, who was winless and without their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler?:

Seattle had a smallish 6-0 winning margin at the half last Sunday before the Seahawks special teams stepped up and WR Tyler Lockett returned the second-half kickoff a franchise-record 105 yards for a touchdown.  In the team’s first win quarterback Russell Wilson made it a point to target tight end Jimmy Graham instead of just asking him to block.  Graham recorded  seven catches for 83 yards and a TD and the team used undrafted rookie RB Thomas Rawls’ legs for 104 yards on 16 carries. Seattle, which is 23-2 at CenturyLink Field since 2012 and has won seven in a row at home.

Detroit Lions Injuries
DeAndre Levy LB — Hip — Limited Participation in Practice — Doubtful
Corey Robinson T– Ankle — Limited Participation in Practice — Doubtful
Joique Bell RB — Ankle — Did Not Participate In Practice — Out
Brandon Pettigrew TE — Hamstring — Did Not Participate In Practice — Out
Jason Jones DE — Knee — Limited Participation in Practice — Probable
Josh Wilson CB–  lower leg — Full Participation in Practice — Questionable
Ezekiel Ansah DE — Groin Limited Participation in Practice — Questionable
Lawrence Warford G — Ankle Limited Participation in Practice — Questionable
Seattle Seahawks Injuries
Tharold Simon CB — Toe — Did Not Participate In Practice — Out
Steven Terrell S — Hip — Did Not Participate In Practice — Out
Michael Bennett DE — Not Injury Related — Did Not Participate In Practice–  Probable
Michael Morgan LB — Hamstring — Full Participation in Practice — Probable
Bobby Wagner LB — Ankle — Full Participation in Practice — Probable
Luke Willson TE — Back — Full Participation in Practice –Probable
Kenneth Wright LB — Hip — Full Participation in Practice –Probable
Demarcus Dobbs DE — Shoulder — Did Not Participate In Practice — Questionable
Marshawn Lynch RB –Hamstring — Did Not Participate In Practice — Questionable
Brandon Mebane DT — Groin — Did Not Participate In Practice — Questionable
Kevin Pierre-Louis LB — Hamstring — Did Not Participate In Practice — Questionable

The Lions are 9.5-point underdogs for this Monday night tilt and are facing a Seahawks team that has been nearly unbeatable on CenturyLink Field. Seattle is 7-0 SU and 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games as a home favorite of a touchdown or more.

The Lions finished last season with a impressive 11-5 mark and it isn’t a stretch to believe this team could lose as many games this year, in the first five games of the season, as they did all of last year. Detroit is 0-3 SU and ATS heading into tonight’s NFC battle with an offense that is averaging a mere 18.7 points per game while allowing 27.7 points per game.

Since 2012, the Seahawks are 27-2 SU, 20-8-1 ATS at home.

Detroit is 2-13 ATS the last 15 times the oddsmakers opened the team as a road underdog.

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