Biggest key matchup for the Lions vs. Seahawks

Going into Week 1 for the Lions matchup with the Chiefs, I had said that Aidan Hutchinson against the Chiefs offensive tackles was the key matchup. Not much will be changing this week for the my biggest key matchup against the Seahawks.

Even though I’m going to be paying close attention to the usage of running back Jahmyr Gibbs and who plays left tackle for Taylor Decker, I’m still intrigued with the Lions defensive line. Most of this is due to the knee injury that occurred with defensive lineman Josh Paschal on Thursday. Not only will Paschal be out against the Seahawks, he could be out for a couple of weeks due to the injury.

That opens the door for players such as John Cominsky and Charles Harris to earn more snaps. However, both players had over 40% each of the defensive snaps last week against the Chiefs. For Cominsky, he played 27 defensive snaps (42%) and Harris played 52 defensive snaps (80%).

Despite Paschal playing the least amount of snaps with 17 defensive snaps (26%), I think the Lions can get creative and get James Houston on the field more. So with that, James Houston is my key player to watch for the Lions defense. Much of that is due to the versatility that the Lions defensive line has at all times.

The Lions should have no issues plugging Cominsky or Hutchinson inside to pass-rush as a 3-technique. That opens the door for Houston to standup off the edge and try to pressure Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.

Houston potentially getting extended playing time is extremely relevant because of the injuries the Seahawks havre sustained with their offensive line. Not only did the team put their starting right tackle Abraham Lucas on the IR with a knee injury, they’ve also listed their starting left tackle Charles Cross out for the game.

This all bodes well for James Houston and the Lions defensive line. It should be expected for the Lions defense to pressure Smith early and often. With that, I’d expect an increase in playing time for Houston. While he didn’t record a defensive statistic last week against the Chiefs other than a quarterback hit on Patrick Mahomes, he should find success against Seattle.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire