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The final week of the NFL for 2016, determines who gets the Wild Card and a shot at the playoffs. On Saturday, Jan. 7, Matthew Stafford and his team left Detroit and headed to Seattle, and took on the Seahawks wanting a much-needed victory. The Lions organization is desperate to get a Super Bowl title.
Stafford, who is 28 years old, is an all-time passing leader and has 187 touchdowns (TD) in his career, 24 for the 2016 season. He entered the game with a 9-7 record, but a win was not in his immediate future. Seattle rolled over the Lions 26-6 and ended Detroit’s season.
Mitch Albom, of the Detroit Press, called for a tight game with the Seahawks edging the Lions by a score of 28-22. According to Albom Seattle’s quarterback’s legs are stronger than Stafford’s, which gives him an advantage. Fans wanted to see Stafford lead their team to a win but feared that all Detroit’s imperfections would be too obvious and would end their season. Shawn Windsor, who is also of the Detroit Free Press, called for a close but disappointing loss, citing Stafford has not yet fully developed the necessary skills to lead his team further in the playoffs. The main reasons for being so cynical about a Lions win was;
- The fact that Seattle has won their last nine home playoff games.
- Jim Caldwell has coached 33 games and has a win/loss record of 18-15.
- Detroit’s constant inconsistency gave the Seahawks the advantage.
- Detroit was 0-5 this season against playoff teams going into Saturday night’s game.
- They lost three in a row by playing very badly this season.
- Seattle is 7-1 on the season at home, and have not lost a playoff game in 11 years.
- The Lions have not won a playoff game since 1992 when they crushed the Dallas Cowboys 38-6.
However, there are some things that did favor Detroit. According to Will Burchfield of CBS in Detroit, there are five good reasons why the Lions and Stafford could have pulled out a win.
- Seattle’s offensive line is the lamest in the league. They gave up over 40 sacks this season, which gave the Detroit struggling defense a chance at redemption.
- The loss of Earl Thomas for the Seahawks has left the secondary wounded. Since his injury, they have given up over 24 points per game. The Lions have quite a few talented receivers who could have posed a threat to Seattle’s defense.
- Russel Wilson has been playing with either a knee or ankle sprain since the third week. It has caused him to finish the regular season with just under 260 yards, the lowest in his career. Healthy quarterbacks have given Detroit a problem all season, so this was a good sign for the Lions.
- The Lions had a couple of weapons on special teams. Sam Martin, Kicker, finished in second for the league at 44 years per punt. Matt Prater is one of the most trustworthy kickers there is, even with some shotty games in the middle of the season.
- Seattle’s running game was not the same, they are currently ranked at No. 25 in the NFL, and their defense is compromised with Thomas out for the season. The Seahawks past performance record and their performance this season is different as the Lions Defensive tackle explained why he felt confident that their defensive game plan should have produced a win.
Stafford’s talents are not being disputed by sports writers, however, they were only questioning his level of maturity and if he has learned enough to lead his team to victory in the playoffs. His ability to make plays happen under the pressure of a Seahawk defense is what most journalists were concerned with.
Opinion by Katherine Miller
Edited by Leigh Haugh
CBS Detroit: The Lions Can Beat the Seahawks…5 Reasons Why
Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions playoff curse continues at Seahawks
Detroit Free Press: Everyone and their mother says Detroit Lions will lose at Seattle
Image Courtesy of Brook Ward’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License