DETROIT LIONS UPDATE 

lEVEN WITH A STRONGER RUSHING ATTACK, OFFENSE STILL RUNS THROUGH STAFFORD

As the Sports Xchange suggested this week, as tempting as it is to put this game in Matthew Stafford's hands against a Seattle secondary that no longer resembles the Legion of Boom, the Lions need to maintain the balance they've shown on offense.

It's no accident that the Lions are 3-0 when Kerryon Johnson touches the ball at least 14 times, and 0-3 when he doesn't. Stafford has gone three straight games without a turnover, and that will be key tomorrow as well against a Seahawks team that's tied for second in the league with a plus-7 turnover margin.

Thanks to Kerryon Johnson, the Lions have unearthed a ground game that has seemingly eluded the franchise since Barry Sanders retired prior to the 2000 season.

But Detroit's offense still runs through Stafford, who will sling the ball all over the field to his capable stable of receivers.

Golden Tate, who started his career with the Seahawks and helped guide the team to a Super Bowl victory, leads the Lions with 37 receptions for 467 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-4 Kenny Golladay, a second-year player out of Northern Illinois, has given Stafford a bigger-bodied receiver who can spread the field and beat defenses over the top. Jones, who accumulated over 1,000 receiving yards a year ago, has seen his targets drop because of Golladay's emergence, but he still has 270 receiving yards and three touchdowns in six games.

Led by Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers and Justin Coleman, the Seahawks have surrendered only 206 passing yards per game, but the young secondary will be tested by a deep and talented Detroit receiving corps on the road.

Indeed, as ESPN's Mike Clay wrote: "The Seahawks have allowed the 11th fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, but don't be fooled. A light slate has been the primary reason for what seems like success."

Clay went on to remind us that Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Allen Robinson each eclipsed 18 fantasy points during Seattle's games against the Broncos, Rams and Bears. However, no opposing receivers came close to that mark in games against the Cowboys, Cardinals and Raiders.

Set to face Golladay, Jones and Golden Tate, Seattle will face its toughest wide receiver unit since the Rams torched them for 33 points back in Week 5.

Struggling perimeter corners Flowers and Griffin will try to contain Jones and Golladay on the outside with Tate facing off with solid slot corner Justin Coleman (Seattle has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to slot receivers). Upgrade Golladay and Jones, making both solid WR2 options

Tate leads the Lions with 37 catches and 467 yards receiving, but the emerging Coleman will make things tough on the veteran wideout. The Lions lean on Tate as a chain mover and extension of their running game, and he needs a bounce-back game after a rough outing last week.

Coleman has faced some good slot receivers this year in Cole Beasley, Larry Fitzgerald and Kupp, and he's fared well in those matchups.

One last note here. ... Tight end Michael Roberts was considered one of the best red-zone threats in the 2017 draft after he caught 16 touchdown passes in his final season at Toledo. He played sparingly for the Lions as a rookie, when he was used primarily as a blocker, but has started to show some of his pass-catching chops this year.

Of Roberts' four catches this season, three have gone for touchdowns.

Luke Willson remains the Lions' No. 1 tight end, and Levine Toilolo has made big contributions in the run game, but Roberts has emerged as a viable weapon near the goal line because of his big frame and huge hands.

Remember, the Lions will be without Theo Riddick for a second-straight week after he was ruled out Friday due to an ongoing knee issue.

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