Updated Oct 26, 2012 - 4:25 pm
Desperate, motivated Lions give Hawks tough road test
I typically don't brag about stuff because I rarely have stuff to brag about. That might be one of the most poorly written sentences I've ever written, and this one isn't very good either.
If you've been making bets based on my predictions on Seahawks games this year, you're a happy guy and on your way to financial security, the likes of which you've never known before. As opposed to most of the free world, you actually think I might know what I'm talking about. But just like Richard Sherman, aka Optimus Prime, I'm pushing my luck by talking smack about my Seahawks picks.
Calvin Johnson and the Lions, 10-6 a year ago, are desperate for a win after falling to 2-4 with a loss to Chicago on Monday. (AP)
This week the Lions are favored by 1.5 points over Seattle, and if you watched Monday night's 13-7 loss to the Bears, you have to wonder why. They look undisciplined. If you think the Seahawks lack punch in the red zone, you should have seen the Lions – they turned it over three times when they were inside the Bears' 20.
After going 10-6 and making the playoffs last year, the Lions are 2-4. They're desperate. Their season is shot if they lose to the Seahawks.
They're also playing at home, which is one of the reasons why they're slight favorites. Here's another: the Seahawks are 1-3 on the road, losing to Arizona, St. Louis and San Francisco and narrowly eking out a 16-12 win at Carolina that could have also been a loss if Cam Newton hadn't short-armed that pass to his tight end in the end zone.
Offensively challenged everywhere, the Seahawks are averaging 12.7 points a game on the road. Russell Wilson, as Larry Stone detailed in The Seattle Times Friday morning, is a different guy on the road than he is at home. His quarterback rating on the road is half of what is at CenturyLink Field. He's thrown all seven of his interceptions on the road.
Another factor to consider: Sherman changing his Twitter handle to Optimus Prime, a "Transformers" reference, intimating that he plans to shut down Lions Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson, aka Megatron.
Danny O'Neil and Steve Sandmeyer don't think Sherman's antics will have an impact on the game, but I do. Johnson, himself, told Detroit reporters that he will use it as motivation. Last year when Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Johnson would be the third-best receiver on the Cowboys, look what happened – Detroit won as Johnson caught two touchdown passes.
You don't mess with a guy like this. He's too talented. I just have a feeling that Sherman is going to get his comeuppance on Sunday. Awakened by Sherman, Johnson's going to have a big day with more than 100 yards in receiving and two touchdowns. I also anticipate Sherman being called for two penalties, one for pass interference and another for illegal contact on Johnson.
And Wilson, as much as I like him, won't magically transform himself on the road in this game; the Lions are sixth in the NFL in pass defense. The Seahawks would be better off to keep handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch, which is their Plan A in most games anyway.
I actually think the Lions will win by double digits, somewhere in the 10- to 14-point range, but since oddsmakers are so good at what they do, I'll take Detroit to beat the Seahawks on a Jason Hanson field goal in the final seconds.
My prediction: Lions 23, Seahawks 20
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