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Scouting report: Seahawks are Lions’ first ‘should-win’ game in years

SB Nation logo SB Nation 9/28/2022 Jeremy Reisman
© Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions opened the week as 6-point favorites over the Seattle Seahawks, the biggest line in favor of the Lions since 2018. Though that line has significantly dropped to just 4.5 points now—likely due to Detroit’s ever-growing injury list—the Seahawks aren’t exactly the type of team the Lions should be fearing right now.

Seattle is obviously a team in transition after moving on from pillars of the team on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Russell Wilson is now in Denver, while linebacker Bobby Wagner is playing for their in-division rival Los Angeles Rams. And while those losses certainly hurt, the Seahawks are struggling where they have for years now.

Detroit may be coming into the week shorthanded, but given how they’re playing on a week-to-week basis, this is the type of team the Lions should now expect to beat. Let’s take a look closer at why in our Week 4 scouting report.

Seattle Seahawks

Last season

7-10 record (4th in NFC West)

16th in points scored, 11th in points allowed

Overall DVOA: 9th (7th on offense, 21st on defense)

Last year, the Seahawks may have been slightly better than their record suggested, but after falling into a deep 3-8 hole, there couldn’t claw their way back to respectability in an extremely competitive division. Offensively speaking, they were still a very good team, with weapons aplenty in Rashaad Penny, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. But the defense dragged the team down, as it has for years.

2022 offseason

Key additions: QB Drew Lock, TE Noah Fant, EDGE Shelby Harris, EDGE Uchenna Nwosu, DT Quinton Jefferson

Key losses: QB Russell Wilson, C Ethan Pocic, TE Gerald Everett, EDGE Carlos Dunlap, EDGE Kerry Hyder, LB Bobby Wagner, CB D.J. Reed

2022 NFL draft picks:

Round 1: OT Charles Cross

Round 2: EDGE Boye Mafe

Round 2: RB Kenneth Walker III

Round 3: OT Abraham Lucas

Round 4: CB Coby Bryant

Round 5: CB Tariq Woolen

Round 5: EDGE Tyreke Smith

Round 7: WR Bo Melton

Round 7: WR Dareke Young

Key coaching changes:

  • Fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
  • Promoted DL coach Clint Hurtt to defensive coordinator

The Seahawks’ offseason plan revolved around two things: improving the offensive line and getting better on defense. The majority of their offseason additions surrounded those two goals, hoping to improve specifically in the trenches on both sides.

To improve a defense that was a far cry from the Legion of Boom days, the Seahawks fired their defensive coordinator. But by replacing him with an internal promotion, Seattle didn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence. That said, Clint Hurtt promises to be more of an aggressive play caller as Seattle transitions to a 3-4 defense.

Oh, right, and that whole Russell Wilson thing. The Seahawks essentially had to choose between him and coach Pete Carroll and made their decision clear. But Wilson wasn’t the only foundational piece of this Seahawks team that left this offseason. Linebacker Bobby Wagner, who had played with Seattle for the past 10 seasons, left for the Rams after being a cap casualty.

2022 season thus far (1-2)

Week 1: Beat Broncos, 17-16

Week 2: Lost to 49ers, 7-27

Week 3: Lost to Falcons, 23-27

Stats:

  • 28th in points scored, 20th in points allowed
  • 21st in overall DVOA
  • 12th in offensive DVOA (11th in pass DVOA, 22nd in run DVOA )
  • 30th in defensive DVOA (31st in pass DVOA, 21st in run DVOA)

It’s weird to say, but little has changed about this Seahawks team from last year. Their offense is actually still decent, even with Geno Smith running the show at quarterback. They are far from explosive—as evidenced by their 28th ranking in points scored—but they are somewhat efficient. They are averaging 38.67 yards per drive, which ranks fifth (tied with the Chiefs). Smith has been incredibly accurate, and is spreading the ball around nicely. While Lockett is far and away the leading receiver with 211 yards through three games, seven other players have at least four catches. Smith seems to really rely on his tight ends, as Will Dissly, Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson have combined for 21 receptions and 218 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively, it’s the same story. They may look okay from a point-allowed standpoint, having not given up more than 27 in a game yet, but the overall efficiency is very bad. They’re allowed a league-high 48.5 yards per drive and 2.6 points per drive (30th).

That said, one reason they’re keeping the points down is because they’ve been great in the red zone. They’re allowing touchdowns on just 38.5 percent of red zone trips, which is the fourth-best percentage in the NFL. For comparison’s sake, the Lions rank dead last in the NFL, giving up touchdowns on 90.9 percent of red zone trips.

The main problem with their defense is in the passing game. They’re allowing a league-high 8.8 yards per attempt and rank 26th in passer rating (100.6) despite only allowing three passing touchdowns on the year and producing just a single interception.

Key injuries: S Jamal Adams (IR), DL Shelby Harris (glute), CB Justin Coleman (calf), RB Travis Homer (ribs)

The biggest hit to the Seahawks has been the loss of All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, who suffered a season-ending quad injury in Week 1. Shelby Harris—who tallied 6.0 sacks for the Broncos last season—has been dealing with a glute injury, but also spent last week away from the team with a personal issue.

Justin Coleman is a familiar face and the current starting nickel for the Seahawks. But he has missed the past two games, leading to more playing time for rookie Coby Bryant.

Travis Homer, the team’s RB3, suffered a rib injury against the Falcons and did not return.

Biggest strength: Passing offense

Let’s dive a little deeper into Geno Smith’s impressive start to the season. He ranks 10th in PFF grade (73.1), first in completion percentage above expectation (+9.1%), all while averaging a decent 7.0 yards per attempt (15th). Most of his damage is done within 10 yard of the line of scrimmage, but he’s also completed four passes this year that have traveled at least 20 yards downfield.

Biggest weakness: Secondary, offensive line

I’ve already highlighted how statistically bad the Seahawks’ pass defense is, and that is largely due to an ineffective secondary. It’s an incredibly young secondary, with fifth-round rookie Tariq Woolen starting on the outside and fourth-round rookie Coby Bryant getting time at nickel with Colleman’s injury. Youth means mistake-prone and ripe for the pickings.

It’s also worth noting this offensive line is still very much a work in progress. The Seahawks are starting two rookie tackles, though both are off to promising starts to their career. The weaknesses appear to be in the middle, as the Seahawks rank 31st in run blocking PFF grade.

Vegas line for Sunday: Lions by 4.5

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