Last week’s loss is fully behind us, and it’s time to focus on the matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. At Ford Field on Sunday, October 2, the Detroit Lions will look to rebound to an even two-and-two record. After losing their long-time starting quarterback, the Seahawks, as the Lions, find themselves in a transitional year. The Lions haven’t faced Geno Smith in almost eight years, back when Smith was starting for the New York Jets. Not a single player from that 2014 matchup is on the current roster, so Sunday’s game is a chance to start new.
With an week of Lion’s news behind us, here are my 5 things to note before Sunday’s game:
Way too Many Injuries for the Lions:
The worst fear for all franchises is catching the injury bug. Unfortunately, the Lions have done just that. With team captain, Tracy Walker, tearing his Achilles in Minnesota, and D’Andre Swift re-injuring his ankle and shoulder, the Lions will have an uphill battle ahead of them. The team was already without many impactful players as guard, Jonah Jackson, and defensive lineman, Frank Cominsky, have both been out for a couple of weeks. The concern is that too many will fall too fast. The Lions do not have enough depth to fill those holes, should they lose more players. Now, with receivers DJ Chark, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Josh Reynolds nursing injuries, the entire offense is looking completely out of sorts.
Coach Campbell has made zero clear announcements on who will be ready to go for Sunday. The hope, is that most of the limited practice participants will be back to full strength by Sunday.
Lions Thursday practice report: pic.twitter.com/Azx9W0KNmj
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) September 29, 2022
Will Jeff Okudah be Lockdown Again:
Too many Lion’s fans delight, Jeff Okudah has been a standout for the defense. The former third overall pick has a plethora of struggles in his young career, but now that he has had to opportunity to play consistently, he has developed in the CB1 many had hoped. The breakout corner has held three phenomenal receivers, Devonta Smith, Justin Jefferson, and Terry McLaurin to only 89-yards in the first three weeks of play. Finally getting the national coverage he deserves, Okudah will look to lockdown yet another top receiver, DK Metcalf.
Earlier this week, Metcalf was quite happy to explain why he will dominate Okudah, stating to reporters on Wednesday, “Okudah has a safety over the top of him,. He isn’t really locking people down.” This was of course his take on the matchup, but Okudah’s 32% single man coverage lineup against Justin Jefferson begs to differ. During that 32% lineup, Okudah allowed only two targets, neither of which were caught.
At the end of the day, Okudah is still proving his abilities. Facing another receiving threat in Metcalf will only help to prove he belongs as a CB1 in this league.
Jared Goff’s Consistent Improvement:
Lions’ quarterback, Jared Goff, has been nothing but consistent to start the 2022 season. Throwing for 748-yards, seven touchdowns, and two interceptions, Goff has been able to lead this Lion’s offense to an explosive start. Playing behind a dominant offensive line has helped, but Goff has also adjusted quite well to the new Lions’ offense. With such a strong support system around him, Goff doesn’t need to be perfect, in fact he just needs to be average. Letting the main offensive weapons put in most of the work, game-managing, and running solid play-action, is all the young veteran has to do. Luckily for the Lions, Goff has exceeded many experts’ expectations, climbing player-stock charts across the NFL world.
Facing a week Seattle defense, Goff will look to continue his consistent play. The worry is if his weapons are out, then Goff will have to put on a performance of a lifetime to win this game.
Who Replaces Tracy Walker:
As previously noted, starting safety Tracy Walker is out for the season. Not only is Walker a leader off the field, but the defense relies on him to be a field general too. His presence will surely be missed, but Defensive Coordinator, Aaron Glenn, claims that he is confident in the options they have to replace him.
Juju Hughes, the young backup to Walker, came in to replace the injured captain against the Vikings. His performance was solid, but nothing special. He lacks the play recognition needed out of a safety, but has the athletic abilities to succeed in the role. He will be competing with Ifeatu Melifonwu, the breakout corner turned safety, and Kerby Joseph, the rookie from Illinois. To me, Melifonwu is the best choice. He was a star last season at corner and impressed as a safety in preseason. His length and zone-coverage skills help fill Walkers role perfectly. Kerby Joseph, whilst fun, was clearly not ready for significant playing time during preseason. That isn’t to say he won’t be able to take on that role towards the end of the year. He has a lot of potential, but his rookie mistakes come too often for him to play all four quarters this early.
Lions’ Schedule Creates a Favorable Matchup:
It is no secret that the Lions have a fairly easy schedule compared to most teams. With the fifth easiest schedule in the NFL, the Lions only have to travel 8,348 miles for road games in 2022, ranking second fewest in the league. The team traveled to Minnesota last week, a relatively close trip, whereas the Seahawks are taking the long trip in from the west coast. Although slight, any advantage a team can get is important. With the Lions showing in each of the past few weeks that they can play fast out of the gate, they will need to repeat that offensive attack if they want to take advantage of a restless Seattle team.
For podcasts covering the Detroit Lions, see: Forward Down the Field Podcast
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