Mon, 02 Oct 2023

5 things to watch: Lions vs. Seahawks

Detroit Lions
17 Sep 2023, 20:25 GMT+10

Tim Twentyman

The Detroit Lions kick off their 2023 home slate by hosting NFC foe Seattle. The Seahawks have beaten the Lions in each of the last two seasons and enter today's contest needing a win after falling in their home opener Week 1. Detroit is looking to make it 2-0 to start the year and exact a little bit of revenge for the last two losses vs. the Seahawks.

Here are five things to watch out for today:

1. MISSING DECKER

Veteran left tackle Taylor Decker suffered an ankle injury early in Week 1. He gutted through the injury in Detroit's 21-20 win over Kansas City but missed all three days of practice this week.

The Lions officially listed Decker as doubtful on Friday's injury report, but downgraded him to out on Saturday. Head coach Dan Campbell said they have a few options to replace him. The most likely plan would be for right tackle Penei Sewell to shift over to left tackle and for swing tackle Matt Nelson to start on the right side. Nelson has played in 41 career games with 12 starts.

They've also toyed with moving former tackle and current guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai to tackle and getting Graham Glasgow into the starting lineup at guard. Glasgow has 91 career starts.

"The beauty is we have options we feel pretty good about," Campbell said.

2. FORD FIELD ATMOSPHERE

Lions fans have been waiting a long time for a team they can rally around. GM Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell have assembled a team that is tough and gritty.

The excitement around the Lions has been building both locally and national all offseason and after Detroit's Week 1 win in Kansas City it's hit a crescendo. Ford Field is going to be lit today. There's really no other way to describe it.

My guess is the noise level today rivals 2011 Monday Night Football against Chicago when the Bears had nine false start penalties and my ears were still ringing hours after the game. If you've got a ticket to this one, enjoy. It should be fun. Now it's up to the Lions to get off to a fast start and keep the crowd involved to make Ford Field a true home-field advantage.

Lions vs. Seahawks injury report: Sept. 15 10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: Will the defensive line bring the heat again this week? NOTEBOOK: Gibbs expected to see more touches this week

3. GOFF STREAK

Since Week 9 of last season, quarterback Jared Goff has not thrown an interception. It's a streak of 359 straight passes, which is the third longest streak in NFL history.

"It's been a lot of things. Obviously, we've been playing well, taking care of the ball and then there's a lot of luck in it," Goff said this week of the streak. "We have balls batted that hit the ground that doesn't always happen, so yeah there's a few different things, but if I'm taking care of the ball, we usually win games, so I've got to keep doing that."

The NFL record for consecutive passes without an interception belongs to Aaron Rodgers at 402.

4. DEFENSIVE ENCORE

Detroit's revamped defense sent a message last week that this isn't the same unit as last year. Holding Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense to just 316 total yards, 20 points and 0-for-7 on third down in the second half was impressive.

What Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn loved the most about the performance was that his guys played to the identity they want to have.

"I think our identity showed up for the most part, and I tell our guys this, 'Listen, the stats are the stats, but if our identity shows up, it takes care of everything.' We play with maximum effort. I thought we were physical, that we were violent, especially in the secondary, and I thought we attacked the football.

"Now, we didn't come away with as many balls we want as far as interceptions and punch-outs. We did get one. But to me, that's what really showed up. I mean the stats are the stats, but like I tell our guys, if we do those things, if we understand that we do those things, those three things, man, the stats are going to take care of itself, and those guys did that."

It doesn't get any easier for Glenn and his defense today. Seattle has a nice trio of wide receivers and a good run game. The Seahawks put up 51 and 48 points, respectively, the last two times these teams played. That's certainly left a bad taste in Glenn's mouth, and he should have his guys ready to play.

Seattle could be without both of their starting tackles upfront and that will have Detroit's edge rushers licking their chops.

5. ROOKIE CONTRIBUTIONS

The Lions got some terrific contributions from their rookie class last week in their debut performances. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs had 60 scrimmage yards in just nine touches and forced seven missed tackles. Linebacker Jack Campbell had a big pass breakup and finished with three tackles. Tight end Sam LaPorta caught all five of his targets for 39 yards and was very good as a blocker in the run game. Nickel corner Brian Branch might have had the biggest play of the game with a 50-yard pick-six of Mahomes in the third quarter to tie it at 14-14.

Now these first-year players get to do their thing in front of the home crowd for the first time. The important thing they showed last week in KC was that the moment wasn't too big for them and they can be instant impact players. The Lions will be looking for more of the same today against the Seahawks.

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