Today is the day. The NFL postseason is back at CenturyLink Field. The Seattle Seahawks will attempt to continue their run of playoff dominance at home against the Detroit Lions, who, by all accounts, have not been the best team in 2016, but certainly one of the most clutch.
Postseason contests are never easy. The teams are too good and the margin for error is becomes little to none. The Seahawks have the ability necessary to beat the Lions. The only problem is that we don’t know which Seattle team will show up on any given day.
Fortunately, the Seahawks tend to show up in big moments and today is as big as they come. To ensure a victory today, Seattle will need to do a few things:
Control the middle of the field
With Earl Thomas and Tony McDaniel out, the middle of the Seahawks’ defense is suddenly very vulnerable. The Lions don’t tend to make many throws in the deep middle third of the field, but I guarantee that they’ll attempt to draw up routes to confuse Steven Terrell. Zach Zenner likely won’t be able to get anything going outside, so the Lions will probably try to pound the rock up the middle.
With Tony McDaniel out, this is the game where Jarran Reed needs to step up and dominate. Lions aren't going to get anything going outside. pic.twitter.com/lCBuU925jl— Mike Bar (@SeahawkScout) January 6, 2017
Jarran Reed and Terrell will need to step up to the plate and kick some ass today if Seattle wants to pull out a win.
Sustain drives and finish
I don’t really care how it happens, but sustained drives are a must in this game, especially against such a poor defense. No waiting around for halftime adjustments before getting it done. The Seahawks need to find a way to keep their defense off of the field and they need to convert their red zone opportunities.
Pete Carroll said he wanted to get Thomas Rawls 20 carries in this game, so they’ll likely be running the ball a lot, but if that isn’t working, shifting to the quick-tempo passing game is very necessary.
Simply put, you can’t win games if you don’t score points (no shit, right?) and, against playoff teams, you can’t rely on flukey scenarios to win games - you need to sustain long touchdown drives.
Don’t let Detroit hang around
The last time these two teams met, it seemed like Seattle was dominating the first half and then, in what seemed like a split second, an unfortunate defensive touchdown turned the entire game around.
If you don’t close out teams early, they find a way to make a play. That almost happened last time. It can’t happen again.
The Seahawks need to showcase consistency in this game and dominate from the get go. No dilly-dallying around. The Lions have found ways to win games in the fourth quarter all season long. They can find a way again if Seattle lets them.
This game is winnable for the Seahawks. They can pull this out. To do that, though, they need to put the shaky end of the regular season behind them. They need to block out the noise. They need to play like the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s game day. It’s time to go to work.