The Seattle Seahawks are making their fifth consecutive playoff appearance on the heels of trading wins and losses over their last six games, while the Detroit Lions’ bid to capture the NFC North title was dashed by three straight defeats to end the season. Both teams will look to get it in gear on Saturday night, when they meet in a wild-card tilt at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
“Everything that’s already happened doesn’t matter at all,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who might be comforted by the fact that he – along with quarterback Russell Wilson – has yet to suffer a playoff loss in the Pacific Northwest while Detroit hasn’t won a postseason game since 1991. Wilson (career-high 4,219 passing yards) threw a touchdown pass in a 25-23 victory over San Francisco on Sunday and found Doug Baldwin for a scoring strike in the last encounter with the Lions, resulting in Seattle’s 13-10 triumph on Oct. 5, 2015. While Wilson reportedly is contemplating removing his knee brace for the playoffs, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said he hasn’t been affected by wearing a glove on his throwing hand to protect an injured finger, although he has registered two touchdowns and three interceptions in his last three games after recording 22 TDs and seven picks prior to the injury. Stafford threw for 347 yards and two scores in a 31-24 setback against Green Bay on Sunday and has averaged 351.5 yards in two career playoff appearances.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Lions (0) – Seahawks (-2.5) + home field (-3) = Seahawks -5.5
LINE HISTORY: The Seahawks opened this game as 7.5-point home favorites and that number has grown to 8. The total opened at 43 and briefly dropped to 42.5 before returning to the original number late in the week. Check out the complete history here.
WEATHER REPORT: It is shaping up for an awful afternoon for football in Seattle. The forecast is calling for considerable cloud at kickoff and a little accumulation of snow and rain later in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the high 30’s with winds between six-nine miles per hour coming from the east.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “The sharp bettors haven’t really taken much of a stand for this one as of yet. A few quickly grabbed on the -7 open most likely as a position play and hoping it balloons out of control. We have more than 65 percent of the action on Seattle as of now but we do expect to see some smart guys on the dog at some point.” – Scott Cooley of Bookmaker.eu.
Lions – WR Andre Roberts (questionable, shoulder), LB DeAndre Levy (questionable, knee), C Travis Swanson (questionable, concussion), DE Ezekiel Ansah (questionable, undisclosed), WR Marvin Jones Jr. (questionable, concussion), OT Riley Reiff (questionable, hip), CB Asa Jackson (IR ankle), OT Corey Robinson (IR, foot), RB Ameer Abdullah (IR, foot), RB Theo Riddick (IR, wrist), DT Stefan Charles (IR, knee)
Seahawks – DT Tony McDaniel (questionable, concussion), RB C.J. Promise (out, shoulder), LS Nolan Frese (IR, ankle), WR Tyler Lockett (IR, leg)
ABOUT THE LIONS (9-7 SU, 8-8 ATS, 6-10, O/U): Former Seattle wideout Golden Tate overcame a horrendous start to the season to lead the team with 1,077 receiving yards, with 404 and two touchdowns coming on 33 receptions in his last four road games. Tate has made himself at home in his third season with Detroit after signing a five-year, $31 million contract on the heels of helping the Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII. “I thought they wanted me back. I thought I did everything I could to help them win a Super Bowl, was in the community, was a good guy,” Tate told reporters. “But you know, it worked out. I’m happy where I am and excited about the future of this organization, and hopefully I’m here for a long, long time.” Zach Zenner has given Detroit’s 30th-ranked rushing game a jolt with 136 yards and three touchdowns in his last two contests.
ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (10-5-1 SU, 8-8 ATS, 9-7 O/U): Seattle’s ground game has struggled to get untracked since the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, with Thomas Rawls plagued by multiple injuries while Christine Michael (now with Green Bay) and C.J. Prosise (shoulder) also saw their paths to stardom slowed. “We just keep going,” Carroll said on 710 ESPN Seattle. “We keep running. We have to keep running to make sure that we have the mix that we want.” Wideouts Jermaine Kearse (six touchdowns in seven career playoff games) and Baldwin (four TDs in last six postseason contests) have come up large in the passing game. Former Lion Cliff Avril recorded six of his team-leading 11.5 sacks in his last six home games while fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett has registered one in back-to-back postseason contests.
* Lions are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. NFC.
* Seahawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
* Under is 8-2 in Lions last 10 games overall.
* Over is 5-1 in Seahawks last 6 playoff games.
* Home team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
For a full list of hot and cold trends click here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: So far the public is backing the underdog with 61 percent of Covers users wagering on the Lions. Meanwhile the Over is getting 58 percent of the action on the total. View full consensus data here.