Coming off a big win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1, the Detroit Lions now focus on an NFC opponent in the Seattle Seahawks. Last season they met at Ford Field in a shootout, with the Seahawks winning 48-45. This year the Lions would be looking for revenge against the Seahawks for the loss last year and for defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18 last season, eliminating the Lions from making the playoffs. With revenge on their mind and a big win the previous week, Detroit will attempt to make it two in a row in front of their home crowd.
The Seahawks were a surprise playoff team in 2022 behind quarterback Geno Smith leading the offense as he had a resurgence in his career. They snuck into the playoffs before losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round. Smith had a strong season and was re-signed by the franchise for a three-year deal for $105 million. While Smith helped the offense finish as a top-10 unit, the defense could have used some more help as they were a bottom-half unit. They addressed most of their defensive issues in free agency and in the draft to help possibly turn the group into a top-half defense, similar to the Lions offseason.
2023 could be a big difference for both teams, and Seattle will be a good test for Detroit coming off a win over the defending Super Bowl champions. Let’s look at the Seattle Seahawks in our Week 2 Detroit Lions scouting report.
- 9-8 record (2nd in NFC West)
- 9th in points scored, 25th in points allowed
- Overall DVOA: 11th (13th on offense, 22nd on defense)
Last season, Seattle came out of nowhere. Smith surprised everyone around the NFL as he took over for Russell Wilson at quarterback and quickly made the city relax about him. He won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award and rightfully so, finishing a career season with 4,282 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, along with 366 rushing yards and a touchdown. Smith was able to have some help at wide receiver with the tough duo of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, who both had over 1,000 receiving yards and combined for 15 touchdowns.
It wasn’t just the passing game that helped move the ball, as rookie running back Kenneth Walker III had a strong first year in the league, rushing for 1,050 yards and nine touchdowns, along with 27 catches for 165 yards. Despite a strong year by Smith and Walker, the offensive line still was a group that disappointed. Smith was sacked 46 times, tied for third-most in the NFL last season.
The defense had multiple players step up, starting with linebacker Jordyn Brooks who led the team in tackles with 161. Rookie cornerback, Riq Woolen led the team in interceptions with six as he came in third place in NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. Linebackers Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu lead the team in sacks with 9.5 each. Despite the defense allowing a lot of points, they had some young players step up, and if they can continue to play well they could be a rebirth of a tough Seahawks defense.
Key additions: LB Bobby Wagner, DE Dre’Mont Jones, S Julian Love, C Evan Brown, LB Devin Bush
Key losses: RB Rashaad Penny, OL Kyle Fuller, S Ryan Neal, WR Marquise Goodwin
Trade additions: None
2023 NFL Draft picks
Round 1: CB Devon Witherspoon
Round 1: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Round 2: LB Derick Hall
Round 2: RB Zach Charbonnet
Round 4: G Anthony Bradford
Round 4: DT Cameron Young
Round 5: DE Mike Morris
Round 5: C Olusegun Oluwatimi
Round 6: S Jerrick Reed II
Round 7: RB Kenny McIntosh
Seattle needed help on defense and boy did they get some good help. Bringing back Wagner will be helpful for their defense and despite being older, Wagner had a strong 2022 season for the Rams, finishing with 140 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, six sacks, five pass deflections, and two interceptions last year. He wasn’t the only help the defense got in free agency as Jones and Love should help the other two levels of the defense.
The team didn’t stop making defensive additions there either. They drafted Witherspoon in the first round to help boost the secondary that already has Woolen, Quandre Diggs, and Jamal Adams. It will be a tough secondary to pass the football on if they can all play at a high level. Seattle also drafted Hall to help the linebacker room.
The players that Seattle lost in the offseason weren’t much of a loss as Penny was replaced by Charbonnet, and Goodwin was replaced by Smith-Njigba. Sure having two rookies replace veterans won’t be the same, but the offense has enough depth at both running back and wide receiver that the rookies aren’t expected to perform at a high level early on. Seattle has a chance to appear in the playoffs again this season and will be the biggest threat to the 49ers in the NFC West as the Rams might have the same result as last season while the Arizona Cardinals are projected to have the number one overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
2023 season thus far (0-1)
Week 1: Lost to Los Angeles Rams 30-13
- 25th in points scored, 24th in points allowed
- 24th in DVOA — 11th on offense, 30th on defense, 16th on special teams
The Seahawks opened the season against the Rams in Week 1 in a rough fashion. The offensive line doesn’t seem improved from 2022, but partly due to injuries at both offensive tackle positions.
#Seahawks starting LT Charles Cross leaves field on the back of a cart with an injury, apparently to his right foot.— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) September 10, 2023
RT Abe Lucas already out that last drive with a knee injury @thenewstribune pic.twitter.com/ADhVKQXIc1
With Charles Cross and Abe Lucas both banged up, Smith had to face pressure all game long and was sacked twice. Smith finished the game going 16-for-26 for 112 yards with a touchdown pass and a carry for 6 yards. The running game tried to help Smith out, but that wasn’t too much help either as Walker had 12 carries for 64 yards and rookie Charbonnet had three carries for 11 yards. If the offensive line is still banged up heading into Week 2, the Lions’ defensive front might be more effective than the Rams’ defense.
While the offense was struggling to get things moving, the defense had trouble stopping the Rams’ offense without star wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Quarterback Matthew Stafford played well as he went 24-for-38 for 334 yards, and the ground game helped close out drives with running backs Cam Akers and Kyren Williams combining for 37 carries for 81 yards and three touchdowns. Los Angeles wasn’t all that efficient on the ground, but with Stafford having a strong game through the air—without his top weapon—the Seahawks’ secondary, which was supposed to be a strength, is now very much in question.
Now it wasn’t just the offensive line that was dealing with injuries, it was also the secondary as Adams and Witherspoon both missed the game. Witherspoon could make his NFL debut against the Lions in Week 2, so that should help the secondary try and rebound after letting wide receivers Tutu Atwell and Puka Nacua combine for 238 yards on 16 catches. The Lions have a better-receiving core than the Rams, so the matchup won’t be much easier and they better hope to get one of those two injured defensive backs back on the field.
Key players ruled out: DT Bryan Mone (knee - PUP)
Key players to monitor: S Jamal Adams (knee), CB Devon Witherspoon (hamstring), LT Charles Cross (turf toe), RT Abe Lucas (knee)
With Cross and Lucas leaving the season opener early due to injury, they are the biggest players on this list to watch. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that both players are considered day-to-day, but Cross is most likely the one to miss some time as the Seahawks signed free-agent offensive tackle Jason Peters on Tuesday.
Perennial Pro-Bowl OT Jason Peters is signing with the Seahawks, per his agent @eliteloyaltysp.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 12, 2023
The team wouldn’t sign a free agent like Peters if they thought one of their players wasn’t going to miss any time. I also don’t believe that Peters would sign to a team at his age of 41 to be a backup. He wants to come in and play and help a team win as a starter.
While the offensive line is dealing with some injuries, the secondary is banged up too but might get some players returning soon. Carroll said that Adams would be practicing this week but in a limited fashion. Adams could still play, but a full week of limited practice could be a ramp-up for him to return in Week 3. While Adams may miss the game on Sunday, Carroll said the idea is for Witherspoon to make his NFL debut against the Lions, giving the secondary some help.
Biggest strength: Wide receivers
Despite having a rough start to the season through the air, the Seahawks have a strong trio of wide receivers. Metcalf is the number one option and he played like it Sunday, hauling in three catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. His size at 6-foot-4 and 236 pounds is something that helps him get open and take advantage of smaller cornerbacks, and his speed is tough to match. After Metcalf, you’ve got Lockett, who brings speed and agility to get open. He’s a good yin to the yang of Metcalf.
Then after those two, you have the rookie Smith-Njigba, who was battling a wrist injury in the preseason. He was projected to miss the first couple of games but played in the season opener with only three catches for 13 yards.
If Seattle is able to keep Smith clean in the pocket, this trio could be one of the best in the league.
Biggest weakness: Offensive line
This was a tough one to figure out as I was torn between tight end and offensive line, but after seeing how many times Smith was sacked last year, and seeing both starters get injured, this was the clear option. Backup right tackle Jake Curhan gave up a whopping four pressures on just 11 pass blocking snaps, per PFF. The changes they made in the offensive line weren’t much either, as they brought Brown over from the Lions to now be their starting center. Brown was an average backup lineman last year for Detroit, but now will be asked to do more as a starter in Seattle.
Last week against the Chiefs, the Lions got seven quarterback hits but no sacks. This was up against a better offensive line, so going up against a line that struggled last season could be a big day for the Lions defensive front. Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson was a menace against the Chiefs and last season, he had five tackles and two quarterback hits against the Seahawks. With Seattle doing very little to fix the offensive line, it could be the biggest downfall for them in this game especially if they aren’t playing all of their starters.
Key matchup: Detroit’s receivers vs. Seattle’s secondary
Last week against the Chiefs, the Lions were able to throw for 253 yards against their secondary, but Kansas City is young on the back end and don’t have any big star players. Seattle has multiple studs in the secondary who will make life difficult for the Lions wide receivers. Last year, Goff threw for 378 yards in the game, but the secondary wasn’t what it is now with their new additions and Woolen getting more experience after his rookie year last season.
Matthew Stafford seemed to be targeting a very particular part of the field today pic.twitter.com/HvCm9NoWFY— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) September 11, 2023
Against the Rams, you could see that Stafford and the offense targeted the middle of the field against the Seahawks’ secondary. Enter Amon-Ra St. Brown. St. Brown didn’t play against the Seahawks last season. The number one receiver playing in this game will help the passing game try and be effective against this tough secondary. If they give up the middle of the field with St. Brown, Goff could be in for a big game like last season.
Another change for Detroit is no tight end T.J. Hockenson, who had eight catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the game last year. Rookie tight end Sam LaPorta might see some coverage by a secondary member over a linebacker. Either way, this battle could decide how the game will turn out if the Seahawks can slow down the Lions’ passing game, it will be up to the Detroit ground game and/or defense to pick up the victory.
Vegas line for Sunday: Lions by 5.5