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The Opposing View: An Insider's Look At The Seahawks' Week 4 Opponent, The Detroit Lions

Five questions from about this week’s opponent, five answers from senior writer Tim Twentyman.

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell talks with Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell talks with Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Seahawks head to Detroit looking to bounce back from a second straight loss, their second matchup with Detroit this calendar year, having beaten the Lions at Lumen Field in Week 17 last season. 

To learn more about this week's opponent, we reached out to senior writer Tim Twentyman with five questions about the Lions: 

Q: After a three-win season in 2021, the Lions certainly look like a much-improved team that has been in every game this season. What's been the difference for this team in Year 2 under Dan Campbell?

Twentyman: The talent level of the roster is obvious a little better with another draft and free-agent cycle, but really it's been the evolution of the offense under first-year offensive coordinator Ben Johnson that's allowed this team to take a step forward. 

Quarterback Jared Goff has really taken ownership of this offense, which was developed by Johnson with the help of Goff and what he's done well over the years and what he likes. He's played great to start. 

It certainly doesn't hurt that Detroit's rushing attack is one of the best in the league, averaging 170.6 yards per game on average. The Lions are second in points scored, third in total offense and third in rushing after three games. The offense has been a real catalyst for this team early on. 

Q: The Lions lost last week after leading by 10 in the second half, and the week before they saw Washington stage a big comeback that fell short. Is there any concern about closing games, or is that too small a sample size/too early in the season to worry about it? 

Twentyman: The buzz word in Allen Park this week has been finish. Like you mentioned, they were able to do it Week 2 vs. Washington, but all three phases had their opportunity to finish that game last week, or at the very least make the comeback much harder for Minnesota, and all three failed to do so. This is a young team that is still learning how to finish games. 

It's a small sample size, but the worrisome thing is this team struggled to do the same thing last season and it's rearing its head again already this season.

Q: Injuries seem to be hitting the Lions hard this week, who needs to step up for safety Tracy Walker, and for if D'Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown if they can't go? 

Twentyman: Veteran JuJu Hughes stepped in last week after Walker suffered the Achilles injury early. He played OK, but he was part of the miscommunication at the end of the game that allowed the Vikings to score the game-winning touchdown in the final minute. Losing Walker is a big blow for Detroit. He's a captain, team leader and leading tackler. I expect Hughes to get the first crack at the job, but second-year player Ifeatu Melifonwu and rookie third-round pick Kerby Joseph will get some looks in practice this week. 

Swift is unlikely to play, but the good thing is veteran Jamaal Williams stepped in last week and rushed 20 times for 87 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions like Craig Reynolds there as well. He rushed for 112 yards in his one start last season because of injuries ahead of him. 

St. Brown is very questionable. He's the team's leader in catches and yards, so that'll be a blow if he can't go. But injuries are a part of this league. It's not a matter of if, but when. The expectation is for DJ Chark and Josh Reynolds to play. That's good news. If St. Brown can't go, Kalif Raymond and Quintez Cephus will have to step up. Both are proven playmakers in this league, so the Lions aren't sweating it. 

Q: Who is a player, aside from the obvious big names, who you think could be an X-factor on Sunday? 

Twentyman: I'm not sure how big a name tight end T.J. Hockenson is over there in Seattle, but the former Pro Bowler is off to a pretty slow start with 10 receptions, 82 yards and a touchdown in three games. He's dealing with a foot injury, but is expected to play. If St. Brown doesn't play, he could be somebody Goff leans on to make plays in the middle of the field. He's due a big game. The Lions could use one from him Sunday with all the injuries they're dealing with at the skill positions.

Q: What matchup or matchups are you most looking forward to seeing play out on Sunday? 

Twentyman: I think the big matchups this week are between Lions cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye vs. that talented receiving duo of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett for the Seahawks. Okudah has been good to start the year, I think Metcalf addressed that this week. That'll be a fun matchup to watch. 

Oruwariye was third in the NFL with six interceptions last year, but he's started the year off a little slower, and is coming off a four-penalty game last week in the loss to Minnesota. Can Okudah and Oruwariye limit the big plays in the passing game? That's a big key to this game for the Lions.

The Seahawks and Lions face off on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023 at Ford Field. Kickoff is set for 10:00 a.m. PT. Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Lions.

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