Week 8: Seahawks at Lions

SportsFootballSeattle SeahawksDetroit LionsNdamukong SuhMatthew StaffordNFL Pro Bowl

Matchup microscope

Seahawks DE Chris Clemons vs. Lions OT Jeff Backus: This might be putting the pass rush before the stopping-the-run aspect that leads to it – as well as the obvious, with all hands on deck needed to defense Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson. But the Seahawks need to make the Lions one dimensional, as if a team that is averaging 46 passes a game isn’t already listing that way, and then get to QB Matthew Stafford. He has been sacked 12 times while putting the ball up 264 times. But this doesn’t have to be all about sacks. Just applying pressure to disrupt the timing of the Stafford-to-Johnson express will help. Clemons has seven sacks in seven games this season, tying him for third in the league, and at least one sack in 13 of his past 14 games. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Backus is an experienced blocker, as this is his 12th season as the starter at the most pivotal position on the line.

One to watch

Seahawks C Max Unger and OGs James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan vs. Lions DT Ndamukong Suh: A Pro Bowl selection last season and NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010, Suh can be a handful. And dealing with him will be an across-the-interior-of-the-line assignment as Unger, Carpenter and McQuistan will all have to block him at some point – at times in tandem. “He’s a good inside player,” Unger said. “We’ve got to be able to handle him, and to do that we’ve got to bring our A game. We’ve got to know where he is on every snap, there’s no question about that.” Suh, who was born in Portland, has 3.5 sacks this season, to go with the 10 he produced as a rookie and four more last season.

Fun to watch

Seahawks CB Richard Sherman vs. Johnson: As with blocking Suh, dealing with the receiver they call “Megatron” will be an across-the-secondary task for the Seahawks. But it will be the times the 6-5 Johnson is matched against the 6-3, long-limbed Sherman that should be the most entertaining. While Johnson has been “limited” to 38 receptions for 592 yards and one touchdown this season, Sherman has three interceptions and 11 passes defensed. He also leads the Seahawks’ secondary in discussing those plays with receivers after he has made them.

One tough task

The Seahawks vs. the situation: They’re not only playing in the same stadium where they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL on Feb. 2, 2006, they’re dealing with the same demons that have haunted this franchise when it plays games in the Eastern Time Zone that start at 10 a.m. PT even before going 6-14 on the road in 2½ seasons under coach Pete Carroll. The emphasis all week has been on the Seahawks taking their home game on the road.

Worth noting

The Seahawks have not played in Detroit since their opener in 2006, when they defeated the Lions 9-6 as Josh Brown kicked his third field goal on the final play of the game. … The Seahawks lead the series 7-4 and have won the past three games. … In their 32-20 victory in Seattle in 2009, the last time they played the Lions, the Seahawks overcame a 17-0 first-quarter deficit as they intercepted five passes – including a 61-yard scoring return by Josh Wilson to seal the win. … Stafford is looking for his fourth consecutive 300-yard passing performance at home and needs 406 passing yards to reach 10,000 for his career. … Nate Burleson, the former Seahawks and O’Dea High School wide receiver who signed with the Lions in free agency in 2010, is out for the season after breaking his leg in Monday night’s loss to the Bears. … Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has 652 rushing yards, which ties him for third in the league entering this week’s games, but he continues to lead the NFL with 1,593 in the 16 games since Week 9 of last season. … Leon Washington is fourth in the league in kickoff return average (31.7). … Linebackers Justin Durant (44) and Stephen Tulloch (40) lead the Lions in tackles. … Linebackers K.J. Wright (52) and Bobby Wagner (50) lead the Seahawks in tackles.

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