DETROIT—Michigan is a sports-crazed state, though family and friends are divided by allegiances for the Wolverines and Spartans and each of the Motor City’s pro franchises attracts a different group of people.
Without a doubt or debate, the Lions are the most popular team in the state.
Millions of fans, young and old, for generations have cheered for the Honolulu blue and silver with all-time greats such as Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson. And they have often booed a team that is usually a league laughingstock.
Since winning a third NFL championship in six years in 1957, the Lions have one playoff victory and that was on Jan. 5, 1992. Since Detroit won the NFC Central in 1993, it has not won a division title.
The Lions had the league’s first 0-16 season in 2008, bottoming out in the worst eight-season stretch by an NFL team since World War II.
Desperate for a winner, it looks as if Detroit might finally have one.
The Lions (1-0) went into the season with unusually high expectations after winning eight of their last 10 games last season and making enough offseason moves that they were favored to finally win the NFC North.
The “hype train,” as coach Dan Campbell has dubbed it, picked up plenty of steam in Week 1 when Detroit beat the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on their home field in the league’s opening game with everyone watching.
Fans will fill every seat at Ford Field, where standing-room only tickets were selling briskly, on Sunday when the Lions host the Seattle Seahawks (0-1).
“I know what Arrowhead is and it was loud. I expect it to be louder than that,” Campbell said. “I just know our fans. It’ll be to the point where you can’t hear yourself think.”
LIVING ON THE EDGE
Seattle was confident going into the season with its offensive line in part because of its two bookend tackles entering their second seasons.
That confidence has been severely shaken.
Left tackle Charles Cross suffered a sprained big toe on his right foot in the opener, a 30-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at home, and isn’t expected to play at Detroit. Right tackle Abraham Lucas was placed on injured reserve after aggravating a knee issue in the first half of Week 1.
Seattle has scrambled to bring in options, including signing 41-year-old Jason Peters to the practice squad. Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe, who have a combined six starts between them, are expected to start at tackle.
“They both know our system really well and they’ll work better when they put a whole week behind them,” coach Pete Carroll said.
Seattle and Detroit are meeting for the third straight year, and have combined to score 80-plus points in each of the past two games won by the Seahawks.
After both teams combined to score 34 points last week, the over/under is 47 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
If the Seahawks and Lions combine to score 80 or more again, it will mark the first time that has happened in three straight matchups in NFL history.
Seattle struggled to put Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford under any duress in Week 1. Stafford was not sacked and the Seahawks had just two quarterback hits.
The Seahawks know the pass rush needs to be better against Jared Goff.
“We need to be more pointed on some of the stuff we’re trying to do,” Carroll said.
Goff has thrown 359 passes without an interception — trailing just two streaks in NFL history — since getting picked off in a win over Green Bay in Week 9 last season.
Aaron Rodgers threw a league-record 402 consecutive passes without getting picked off in 2018 with the Packers and Tom Brady had 399 straight attempts without an interception for Tampa Bay last season.