Wild Card Round: Seahawks vs Lions Picks & Predictions

Check out which side the national media is picking to win Saturday night's Wild Card playoff game between the Seahawks and Lions.

The Seahawks host the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs this Saturday at CenturyLink Field, where kickoff is set for 5:15 p.m. PT with national television coverage on NBC (channel 5 in Seattle).

Here's a look at which side the national media is predicting to win the January 7 matchup:

At ESPN.com, Michael Rothstein predicts a 20-10 Seattle win, "The Lions haven't won a playoff game since the 1991 season, and that trend will continue in Seattle. Detroit's offensive line issues could lead to Matthew Stafford being hit an abnormal amount, and if that happens, he could be forced to make poor decisions. It'll be a close game, but the Lions' inconsistent offense fails them again in the second half, an area they've been beaten badly in by Dallas and Green Bay the past two weeks."

Sheil Kapadia at ESPN.com sees a much closer game, ultimately picking the Seahawks to win 24-23, "This isn't the same Seahawks team we've seen in years past. They struggle to run the ball, and the pass defense has looked vulnerable without Earl Thomas. Look for the offense to rely on a quick passing game with Russell Wilson targeting Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham often. Defensively, the Seahawks need their pass rush to dominate. Seattle ended the season 3-3 in its final six games. Look for a close contest that's decided in the final two minutes."

Elliot Harrison at NFL.com likes the Seahawks to win at home, 27-17, "Run the football. Even if it doesn't work. If the Lions are going to upset the Seahawks, they must utilize Zach Zenner while maintaining some semblance of balance. Constantly airing it out would be analogous to only doing biceps at the gym -- which, judging by Twitter avatars, is still all the rage in 2016. The body of the offense must be used, from power runs to bubble screens to Golden Tate. Getting the former Seahawk involved early makes too much sense. He's an emotional player who can ignite the offense. That, coupled with Zenner, can keep the Seattle pass rush at bay. Or, at the very least, provide a moment's hesitation -- Is this a draw play? -- and so on. The Seahawks can ill afford to dilly-dally, like in San Francisco last week. Matthew Stafford won't be providing many freebies to the secondary -- especially a secondary that's sans the uber-rangy Earl Thomas. Thus, getting off to a fast start offensively is key. Come out aggressive, get Russell Wilsonout of the pocket early and take at least one vertical shot to Jimmy Graham down the seam or Paul Richardson on a classic go route. The longer the Lions hang around in a 10-7 ballgame, the more they will believe they can win. Remember earlier this season when Stafford kept winning games in the fourth quarter, including on the road in Indianapolis and Minnesota? Better yet, remember when the winless Lions came within a foot of upsetting the Seahawks in Seattle last season? All that said, Detroit was 0-5 versus playoff teams this year, and the Seahawks haven't lost a home playoff game since the 2004 Wild Card Round against the Rams."

Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com believes the Seahawks advance with a 21-17 win, "This is a tough turnaround for the Lions after losing to the Packers and now facing a trip West to a tough spot to play. The Seahawks haven't been as good as in years past, but that defense finished second in the league in points and remains a force. That will put a lot of pressure on Matthew Stafford to make plays in the passing game. The Lions lost 13-10 here in 2015, so they did a nice job on defense. If their front can get after Russell Wilson here, and they haven't been great rushing the passer, they could keep this low scoring. In the end, Wilson will make the plays to pull it out for Seattle. They advance."

Chris Burke at SI.com likes the Seahawks to win 27-21, "The NFL playoffs are unpredictable by nature—one-game, win-or-go-home setups always are. But if there is a safe bet to be made this weekend, here it is: The Lions will trail at some point during the fourth quarter Saturday night. In 15 of its 16 games this season, Detroit trailed at some point during the fourth quarter. The lone exception was a Week 13 trip to New Orleans that the Lions led from the 8:14 mark of the first quarter on. Their eight other victories this year were of the come-from-behind variety. Only twice did Jim Caldwell's team pull the trick away from home, though: Week 1 at Indianapolis and Week 9 at Minnesota. All, the Lions finished 3–5 on the road and 0–3 in outdoor games, with an average of 15.7 points. They will receive no break from the elements Saturday night when they visit Seattle (current forecast: low 30s with a mixture of precipitation), where the Seahawks famously own a significant home-field advantage."

Michael David Smith at ProFootballTalk.com takes the Seahawks to win 30-17, "The Seahawks haven't been the same team since Earl Thomas went down, but the Lions haven't been the same team since Matthew Stafford injured a finger on his throwing hand. Seattle is a tough place to play, and the Lions haven't played well in a month, so I'll take the Seahawks."

Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com also takes Seattle, 27-17, "The down-and-up Seahawks are vulnerable, with alternating losses and wins over the last six games. But the Lions have lost three in a row to cap a season that includes no wins over a team that made it to the playoffs. While an upset isn't out of the question, the safer choice is the home team, which has been very hard to beat at home in the playoffs."

David Steele at Sporting News picks Seattle to win 27-21, "The level of competition for the Lions jumped up fast at the end — including this game, they got the Giants, Cowboys and now Seahawks on the road, and last week the Packers at home. The defense buckled in the last two, and that's going to be a big problem against Russell Wilson and Co. The Seahawks' defense is going to get tested by Matthew Stafford in his third playoff trip (second under Jim Caldwell) and coming off his best season overall. Shaking off the Seahawks' home-field advantage will be his biggest challenge."

All the sports writers at the Seattle TImes predict a Seahawks win, with beat reporter Bob Condotta seeing a 27-16 victory, "The Seahawks aren't exactly cruising into the postseason. But at their best this season they were better than the Lions, who rank 18th or worse in six of the eight major NFL stat categories and no better than 11th in any of them. Detroit also has not been the same since quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered an injury to the middle finger on his throwing hand on Dec. 11. That Detroit has a solid passing game is worrisome given Seattle's issues playing without Earl Thomas. But if Russell Wilson plays well the Seahawks should be able to advance fairly comfortably."

All eight experts at CBSSports.com are picking the Seahawks to win

All nine analysts at ESPN.com predict a Seattle victory

And all five writers at USA Today see the Seahawks winning this weekend.

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