Detroit @ Seattle
Power rankings: Detroit 31, Seattle 17
Spread update: The line has moved to Seattle -7.5. One day I'll get #getyourdamnbetsinearly trending on twitter.
The Lions are going into this one without their starting quarterback. Jared Goff didn't practice all week with a knee injury. He's technically "doubtful," but it's safe to assume he's out. In comes Tim Boyle -- in 2 games, he has a PFF passing grade of 48.9. He's completing 68.4% of his passes and gaining a pitiful 4.6 yards per attempt. Boyle has been in the league since 2018, but has just 62 dropbacks in his career. It's a small miracle that he's collecting a paycheck, let alone playing in an actual game. Boyle started 2 games in 2017 for Eastern Kentucky before signing with the Packers in 2018 as a undrafted free agent. Prior to his 2017 season, he played at UConn from 2013 - 2015, where he had completion percentages of 41.2%, 51.2%, and 52.5%. It's a credit to him that he's been able to stick around, but it's impossible to conclude anything other than he's going to be in over his head playing QB in the NFL. Even with Goff, the Lions offense is 29th in DVOA and 28th in EPA/play. The offensive line has a pair of strong tackles in Taylor Decker and 2021 7th overall selection Penei Sewell, but they're vulnerable along the interior, particularly if RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (COVID-19) can't play. Rookie 4th rounder Amon-Ra St. Brown has emerged as a legit receiving threat, his last 4 games he's gone 10/86/1 (receptions/yards/touchdowns), 8/73/0, 8/90/1, and 9/91/1. On a roster that has been missing TJ Hockenson (thumb) since 12/17, he's been a pleasant surprise, but that's all the Lions have at receiver. D'Andre Swift should return for the first time since week 12 to handle the bulk of the RB carries -- Swift is a solid running back as both a runner and a receiver. The Lions are equally weak running and throwing the football, ranking 29th in DVOA throwing and 26th running. On defense, the Seahawks are 25th in DVOA and 19th in EPA/play. They have virtually zero pass rush, ranking 27th in pressure percentage (21.6%) and 21st in ESPN's pass rush win rate metric (39%). They do have a pair of tackles who are strong in run defense (Al Woods and Ponna Ford). Bobby Wagner, now age 31, is still a do-it-all linebacker, capable of above-average coverage, pass rush, and run defense. The cornerback room is less than stellar, DJ Reed Jr and Sidney Jones are average at best, and slot man Ugo Amadi ranks 115 of 116 qualifiers in PFF grades. Quandre Diggs is a fine free safety, but Ryan Neal as struggled at strong safety since taking over for Jamal Adams, who has been on IR since 12/10 (shoulder). It should be no surprise that the Seahawks are far better against the run (9th in DVOA) than the run pass (28th), not that the latter matters against fucking Tim Boyle.
The Seahawks on offense are 11th in DVOA and 19th in EPA/play. Russ Wilson is having a down year, ranking 23rd in PFF grades (67.9) while completing 64.9% of his passes (0.3% above expectation) and gaining 7.6 yards per attempt. Outside of a layup match against Houston week 14, he's shown zero signs of returning to form since suffering a gruesome finger injury in November. The offensive line is below average (especially run blocking). Part of the problem is injury related: RT Brandon Shell hasn't played since week 13 and is doubtful after not practicing all week, and LG Damien Lewis is on the COVID-19 list. The other part is the players simply aren't very good. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are a solid 1-2 punch at receiver, but there aren't any viable options behind the two. Rashaad Penny will handle the bulk of the RB carries, especially if Alex Collins (questionable) can't play. In total, the pass game is 12th in DVOA and the run game is 7th. It's about as easy of a matchup as the Seahawks can get -- the Lions are 29th in DVOA and 28th in EPA/play on defense. They're 29th in pressure percentage (20.1%), 30th in ESPN's pass rush win rate (34%), and 24th in run stop win rate (29%). Charles Harris is having a good season as a pass rusher, amassing 51 pressures and 8 sacks on the season. I have nothing nice to say about anybody else. They're 26th in DVOA against the pass and 28th against the run. Let's not make this any more depressing than it needs to be.