Neither the Seattle Seahawks nor the Detroit Lions are going to the postseason this year, of course, but both teams clearly want to still win and haven’t given up on playing hard. No one can accuse the Seattle players of quitting.
But Detroit might want to win more than Seattle in Week 17. The Lions seem young and hungry and have no concept that they are having a losing season. Detroit demolished the Cardinals tw weeks ago 30-12 and played like a playoff team.
Before the season, 12s might have penciled this game against the Lions in as a victory but not anymore. There are some key statistics that imply Seattle should still be confident entering the game, though.
3 stats that might be telling of the outcome between the Seahawks and the Lions
Time of possession
The Seahawks keep the ball for an average of a mind-boggling 24:48 of a game, easily last in the NFL. This is nearly 2 1/2 minutes less than the next-worst team the Jacksonville Jaguars (27:14). This means that Seattle’s defense gets tired late in games. And this is one reason Seattle lost to the Bears.
Against Chicago, Seattle had an early lead but then time of possession once again became extremely one-sided. Seattle held the ball for just 21:35 of the game. Detroit likes to run the ball so if Seattle’s defense gets tired again then Detroit is capable of winning a low-scoring game with a fourth quarter comeback.
Lions rushing attempts
As I said, Detroit likes to run the ball and they stay with it. Lions coach Dan Campbell is in his first season with the team. Detroit wasn’t expected to win a lot of games this year ad they haven’t. But Campbell is re-making the toughness of the team and Detroit is getting better as the season goes on.
Detroit threw more early in the year as they were down early in games, but the last three weeks Detroit has run the ball on 45.83 percent of their plays, 11th-most in the league. In Week 16, Detroit ran the ball 48.53 percent of the time, 9th-most in the NFL.
Campbell doesn’t give up on the run (unlike the Seahawks). Detroit doesn’t have a great offense but by running the ball they can have a matter of control over how high-scoring the game gets. This week, the Lions will also get D’Andre Swift back. If Seattle isn’t careful, by the end of the game the Lions could be picking up chunk runs in the second half against a tired Seahawks defense.
Percentage of drives allowing an offensive score
This is where the Seahawks could get up early and get a sizeable lead against the Lions. Seattle’s offense is better in the first half of games (11.5 points in the first half – 16th in the NFL) and not good in the second half (8.9 points – 27th in the NFL). Scoring points early will be very important to the Seahawks in Week 17.
But the Lions give up scoring plays on 45.6 percent of their opponent’s drives, second-worst in the league. Detroit also gives up 13 points on average in the first half of games (4th-worst in the league). If Seattle can take advantage of the Lions giving up so many scores per drive and score early, Seattle might have a big enough lead by the fourth quarter that a tired Seattle defense won’t matter so much.