When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PDT, Ford Field, Detroit
Record: 2-4 after their 13-7 loss to the Bears in Chicago on Monday night
Where they rank: No. 4 on offense (19th rushing, 2nd passing); No. 8 on defense (16th rushing, 6th passing)
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jaime Maggio
Series: Seahawks lead 7-4, including a three-game winning streak with victories in the last meeting – 32-20 in Seattle in 2009; and the last game played in Detroit – 9-6 in 2006.
Star power: Calvin Johnson. They call him “Megatron” and he graces the cover of Madden NFL 13. Sure, Johnson caught only three passes for 34 yards while being roughed up by Bears cornerback Charles Tillman on Monday night. But Johnson also caught 96 passes for a league-high 1,681 yards and a career-best 16 touchdowns last season, when he was voted to his second Pro Bowl. This guy has it all. Size – he’s 6 feet 5, 236 pounds. Speed – he ran 40 yards in 4.35 seconds at the NFL scouting combine in 2007. Hops – he has a 42.5-inch vertical leap and an 11-7 broad jump on his resume. Production – three seasons with at least 1,100 receiving yards, 12 touchdown receptions and 77 catches. Hype – “He’s like a created player on Madden,” is the way Tillman put it before putting a lid on Johnson.
Unsung hero: Jason Hanson. With the former Washington State University and Mead High School of Spokane kicker it’s not so much unsung as a familiar chorus – same in season 21 as he was in season one. That’s right, the 42-year-old Hanson is in his 21st NFL season. When he entered the league as the Lions’ second-round draft choice in 1992, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was the New York Jets’ defensive coordinator; Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy was putting together his NFL Defensive Player of the Year season; and Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson was, well, four years from even being born. But Hanson’s isn’t just still around. He’s still kicking. In the Lions’ overtime win over the Eagles in Week 5, he kicked a 19-yard field goal to tie the score at the end of regulation and then a game-winning 45-yarder in overtime. He has scored 2,075 points by kicking 479 field goals and 638 PATs. And counting.
On the spot: Titus Young and Ryan Broyles. Someone has to step up to replace Nate Burleson, after the former Seahawks and O’Dea High School wide receiver was lost for the rest of the season with a broken right leg during Monday night’s loss to the Bears. Burleson is the Lions’ No. 2 wide-out and, as the Detroit News put it, “maybe their No. 1 spiritual leader.” Burleson was averaging only 8.9 yards on his 27 receptions, but his two TD catches lead the team and last season he caught 73 balls. Young, a third-year receiver, has 17 receptions; while Broyles, a second-round draft choice this year, made his NFL debut against the Bears and caught three passes for 51 yards.
Burning question: The Lions have a game on Sunday? You’ll have to excuse the sports fans in the Motor City if they’re a bit preoccupied this week. The Tigers have won the American League pennant and will be playing home games in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights – just down the street from where the Lions and Seahawks will play on Sunday afternoon.
Numbers to know: 78.4, QB Matthew Stafford’s passer rating, down from 97.2 last season when he passed for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns. … 30, seconds remaining when the Lions scored against the Bears, which allowed them to avoid being shutout for the first time since 2009. … 13.5, combined sacks for the Lions defensive line of Kyle Vanden Bosch (4.5), Cliff Avril (3.5), Ndamukong Suh (3.5) and Corey Williams (2). … 27 and 26, the Lions’ point totals in their two wins. … 19, 13 and 7, the Lions’ point totals in three of their losses.
Familiar faces: In addition to Hanson and Burleson, left guard Rob Sims (2006-09), defensive end Lawrence Jackson (2008-09) and tight end Will Heller (2006-08) played for the Seahawks; while strong safety Erik Coleman played at Washington State.
On the coaching staff, tight ends coach Tim Lappano worked for the Seahawks (1998) and at Washington State (1987-91) and the University of Washington (2005-08); offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is from Sunnyside and coached at Washington (1994-98); defensive assistant/secondary Marcus Robertson played for the Seahawks (2001-02); and offensive line coach George Yarno is from Spokane and played (1975-79) and coached (1991-94 and 2003-07) at Washington State. West Coast scout Cary Conklin is from Yakima and played (1988-89) and coached (1996-98) at Washington.
The last word: “I told the team, ‘Talk is cheap.’ You can say anything you want, but actions speak louder than words. You can talk about taking care of the ball. We can talk about making sure we’re on the same page. We can talk about making plays. We’ve just got to get it done. … I am glad it’s a short week. I don’t want to be sitting around talking about this one too much longer.” – Stafford after Monday night’s loss to the Bears
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