DANNY ONEIL

Detroit’s pass-happy comeback kids will test Seahawks in playoff opener

Jan 1, 2017, 9:21 PM
Matthew Stafford's Lions won eight games in which they trailed at some point in the fourth quarter....
Matthew Stafford's Lions won eight games in which they trailed at some point in the fourth quarter. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks begin the playoffs by facing a quarterback with a sore middle finger and a team with an aching playoff history.

The quarterback is Matthew Stafford, who played the final month of the regular season with an injured joint on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

The team he plays for, meanwhile, has won exactly one playoff game since 1957 and enters the playoffs on a three-game losing streak.

Consider that just one more deficit the Lions will try to overcome this season. They did that better than anyone this season, coming back to win eight games in which they trailed at some point in the fourth quarter.

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They just couldn’t come back from a double-digit deficit in the final period against Green Bay, losing 31-17. That gave Green Bay the NFC North Division title and turned the Lions into the NFC’s No. 6 seed.

Here’s a few things to know about the Lions. They ranked No. 30 in rushing yards, and Theo Riddick (who was placed on Injured Reserve on Saturday) was the team’s top rusher in the regular season with 357 yards. That’s the lowest total for any team’s leading rusher.

You’d think that would play to Seattle’s advantage, right?

Maybe not. Seattle’s rush defense has been perhaps its most consistent strength throughout this season, but it’s not like the Lions are going to be running into the teeth of that defense. In fact, the Lions aren’t going to be running much at all based on regular-season results.

Detroit is a largely average team. Their turnover ratio was a perfectly even zero this season. The Lions ranked an almost perfectly mediocre No. 15 in yards allowed, 13th in points allowed, and the defense logged only 25 sacks, which was tied for fewest in the league entering the final week of the regular season.

What Detroit has had this season is an ability to pull games out in tight spots, which is one of the things that seems to have been missing from these Seahawks over the past month and a half.

That is what will make Saturday’s playoff game so interesting as the Seahawks – who have been one of the league’s most consistent postseason participants – host a Lions team that hasn’t been here all that often.

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