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Why Lions-Seahawks Could Be 'Week 4 Classic'

Corbin Smith of All Seahawks answers five questions regarding the Detroit Lions' Week 4 contest with the Seattle Seahawks.

Corbin Smith covers the Seattle Seahawks for All Seahawks. He answered five questions heading into the Seahawks-Lions matchup at Ford Field Sunday.

1.) What is your overall impression of the Seahawks through the first three weeks of the season?

Corbin Smith: Everyone expected the Seahawks to be held back by quarterback play after trading Russell Wilson. But, Geno Smith has been a surprising bright spot, completing 77 percent of his passes and throwing for four touchdowns. A young offensive line with two rookie tackles has also generally provided him with good pass protection. 

Unfortunately, the offense hasn't consistently finished in the red zone, and Pete Carroll's defense has been dreadful at times. The defense has only produced one three-and-out so far, and is struggling to slow down opposing run games and to limit explosives in the passing game. There's reason for optimism with many rookies contributing. But, this squad has very much looked like a rebuilding one, albeit for different reasons than most anticipated.

2.) What has made the team's red-zone defense ranked No. 4 in the NFL? 

Smith: As bad as the defense has been elsewhere on the field, Seattle has continued to defend every blade of grass as well as any team in the league. The Seahawks excel at bending but not breaking, and that credit belongs to the players; though, it becomes incredibly frustrating wondering why they can't make stops earlier in drives. For whatever reason, they seem to buckle down inside the 20, and they excel at creating turnovers in such situations, as displayed by two goal-line fumbles forced against the Broncos in Week 1.

3.) How do you view running back Kenneth Walker adding to this team's offense the next few seasons?

Smith: An incredibly explosive athlete, with underrated tackle breaking ability and soft hands out of the backfield, Walker provides an exciting complementary weapon to starter Rashaad Penny in the short term. The Seahawks want to get him more involved, but they have had the fewest offensive possessions in the league thus far, which has limited opportunities for both backs. Depending on how Penny performs this year, the former Doak Walker Award winner in Walker could take over as the bell-cow back next year. And, he's an exciting fit in this zone-heavy scheme. He just needs more chances right now to show what he's capable of.

4.) What are the one-two key matchups you are watching for this weekend?

Smith: Offensively, especially after DK Metcalf threw some gas on the fire this weekend, the matchup pitting him against emerging cornerback Jeff Okudah should be a popcorn-worthy one. Metcalf has yet to have a breakout game this season, and Okudah has helped thwart three talented receivers so far. So, all eyes will be on that battle. 

Defensively, Seattle's interior defensive line and linebackers must step up their game against a physical Lions offensive line that has been wildly successful in opening up run lanes for D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. If the Seahawks keep struggling with run fits and tackling, it will be a long afternoon.

5.) How do you see this Week 4 matchup playing out between the Lions and Seahawks?

Smith: I've gone back and forth trying to decide who will win this one. At full strength, the Lions have a more talented roster, particularly on offense. But, not having Swift or Amon-Ra St. Brown available is a major blow for Detroit, and evens the playing field. Smith should be able to find success against a secondary that already was struggling with Tracy Walker healthy. And, most importantly, this should be an opponent Penny and Walker can get rolling against on the ground. For that reason, while the game will go down to the wire, the Seahawks will eek this one out, 27-24, in a Week 4 classic.